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Christmas and mental health

Learn how Christmas might affect your mental health. Find tips on how to cope and ways to support someone else.

How might Christmas affect my mental health?

Christmas can affect our mental health in lots of different ways. This could be if Christmas is part of your life, or if it's happening around you. It's a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us.

Christmas could affect your mental health if you:

  • Wish you didn't have to deal with Christmas, or find it stressful because of other events in your life
  • Feel alone or left out because everyone else seems happy when you're not
  • Feel frustrated by other people's views of a 'perfect' Christmas, if these feel different to your experiences
  • Have ideas about what Christmas should be like, feel as if you need to enjoy it or worry something will disrupt it
  • Feel like Christmas gives you something to focus on and look forward to, and find it difficult when it's over
  • Look back at difficult memories, regret things about the past, or worry about the coming new year
  • Feel overlooked, for example if you celebrate other religious festivals or holidays that get less attention
  • Want to celebrate with someone who's struggling

Listening to other people's exciting plans makes me feel like an alien being, as I don't have all those wonderful relationships in my life.

If you live with mental health problems, there may be other reasons that you find Christmas tough. For example:

  • Your mental health problem might make it difficult for you to spend Christmas how you want. 
  • Some experiences during Christmas could make your mental health worse, or harder to manage. For example, if it triggers hypomania or mania.
  • You might not be able to access services that normally help, if they're closed during the Christmas period.
  • Your usual routines may be disrupted, which might make it harder to manage your mental health.

My Christmas with BPD

It's a fight that I'll win, but it's a tough fight all the same.

What can I do to get through Christmas?

If Christmas is a hard time for you, it's important to remember that you are not alone. There are things you can try that might help, such as:

If you feel unable to keep yourself safe, it's a mental health emergency.

Get emergency advice

This information was published in November 2023. We will update it in 2024.

References and bibliography available on request.

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