The mental health charity GROW, which holds free weekly support meetings across County Tipperary, is urging people to be kind to themselves this festive season, to reach out to others and to remember that we must mind our mental as well as our physical health.
Caroline Crotty, GROW’s area coordinator in the South East, explains how Christmas and the New Year can often be fraught with added stress and anxiety. “Any person can be affected by mental ill-health, so in the same way that we must exercise and eat well to mind our bodies, we must make time to care for our mental health particularly at Christmas time,” she emphasises
GROW suggests ways to promote positive mental health and to help avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Make a list
One way to combat festive stress is to plan ahead. Planning gives us a sense of control but leaving all the Christmas preparations to the last minute can cause extra unnecessary anxiety. Make a list of presents to buy or groceries and jobs to do because this helps organise your thoughts, prevents overspending and minimises additional stress. It can also be helpful to write down three positive things that you would like to achieve in the New Year – set yourself some achievable goals.
Take time out
Christmas is a time when we are often with others, but don’t forget to take time out for you. Don’t feel pressured to do more than you feel up to. Make time for yourself to relax and unwind.
Make sure to eat fresh foods, exercise and get enough sleep
Mind your body to mind your mind. Research shows that exercise releases chemicals in your body that make you feel good and help you relax. You don’t need to run a marathon; exercise can mean a simple walk outdoors in the fresh air.
Reach out to others
Reach out to others and remember that a friend is as near as the nearest phone. Reaching out to others more often can help to boost our mental wellbeing and that of others.
Ask for help
Most important of all remember to ask for help. If you feel very low or anxious tell someone, pick up the phone or reach out for help if things are getting too much and you feel you can’t cope.
GROW is dedicated to promoting positive mental health and has been helping people on the road to mental health recovery for almost 50 years. GROW holds free weekly peer support meetings in Co. Tipperary for anyone aged over 18 who is struggling with any aspect of their mental health.
No introductions are needed and no referrals are necessary – simply come along to a meeting that best suits you. GROW holds free weekly support meetings across Tipperary including at Aiseiri Centre in Cahir on Thursdays at 7.30pm, at the Community Resource Centre, Kickham Street, Clonmel, on Mondays at 11am, and at the Community Centre, Michael Street, Tipperary Town, on Tuesdays at 8pm.
For more details of your nearest GROW meeting visit www.grow.ie or call the GROW infoline on 1890 474 474. Alternatively, if you are in a crisis and want to talk, contact the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123.