So here it is! Merry Christmas, everybody’s having funChristmas, Merry, anxiety, depression, family, lonely

Merry Christmas everyone. The theory espoused by Slade that ‘everybody’s having fun’ may, unfortunately not be entirely accurate. We all want to relax and have a good time with the family over Christmas, but for some this will be more difficult than for others. Switching off from the crazy pre-holiday run up will be an issue for some of us and many will still be thinking about what needs to be done on that project in early January. For others, the financial burden of simply making Christmas happen will be causing anxiety well into the New Year. This is also a lonely time for some who will be thinking of loved ones no longer around or for what they have lost in both emotional and material terms. Thousands of us will be working over the Christmas break and perhaps feeling regret or even guilt that they can’t spend this special time with the ones they love.

Most of us will get through these difficulties and will survive until the New Year, but we all need to be aware of the emotional costs to our friends, loved ones and of course to ourselves. Stress, anxiety and depression are very common enemies at this time of year. We all need to get closer and support each other. How? I hear you ask. Simply by looking, listening, hearing and by being there for those in need. We all know someone in difficulty, so take a minute to pick up the phone and wish them a Merry Christmas. Do you have an elderly neighbour living alone? Depression among the elderly is a serious cause for concern so knock on the door and say hello.

What about you? Turn off that wretched work phone, leave the e mail alone and restore some balance, enjoy some family time. We all have problems and worries too, but before you go to sleep tonight take a minute to ask yourself what you have to be grateful for; a roof over your head? Great family? Some security? Many don’t have any of these things. If you have something making you anxious ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen? generally the worst doesn’t happen anyway, but if it does you will find a way to fight through (most of us have done it before).

So if you are reading this and thinking, that isn’t working for me, I can’t stop worrying, I can’t cheer up, the future looks hopeless. It is time to get help. Anxiety and depression and common mental health disorders, thousands of men and women experience from these illnesses and many suffer in silence. Help is available, You will get better. So if you are feeling low and have no hope for next year, think about seeing your GP. Together we can defeat mental illness.

Look to the future now, it’s only just begun!