It’s time again for our Winter break. I know some of you will be looking forward to spending time with family and friends, relaxing, eating and drinking lots, watching the Christmas films and Christmas specials on TV, giving and receiving gifts, shopping and going out. But for any of us, there can be difficulties and it’s important that we look after ourselves. Some students may not be able to be at home, or be with family or friends, and some may want to avoid it all together and feel under pressure to be happy and have fun. I thought I’d put together some suggestions for making the break easier for yourself and others if you do find it difficult.
My first suggestion is to be kind to yourself. There can be lots of pressure to do certain things, be happy and make everything perfect, but it will be so much easier and more enjoyable if you allow yourself to feel however you happen to feel, don’t do things that will cause you huge amounts of distress and share any responsibilities equally where possible. Let go of things that don’t go to plan, don’t feel pressured into eating or drinking things you don’t really want to, and take time to do things you enjoy, like reading, running, or just doing nothing.
My second suggestion is talk to people. People you trust, your family, friends, shoppers in Tesco. It can be an incredibly lonely time, even if you are surrounded by people. So make sure you have those chats. If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to and would like some support there are people at the bottom of this post you can call or email.
Next suggestion is one you’ll read and hear everywhere, but really important in terms of mental health – don’t drink too much alcohol. Don’t drink at all if that is your choice or your health means you shouldn’t. Alcohol does make us feel rubbish the day after if we drink too much, and drinking too much can lead to inhibitions being lowered and risks being taken. Stay safe! Please stay safe. Also, if your friend isn’t drinking for any reason, offer to stay on the soft drinks with them. It is incredibly difficult to be the only person not drinking alcohol; if there are two or more of you it is much easier. It will be appreciated, and you will be glad in the morning!
Lastly, have a proper break. You’ve maybe just sat exams, perhaps you are going back to exams or placements or assessments, you deserve some time to relax. I know a lot of students will be working over the college and university holidays but still – take a break where you can! You are all doing great things and you need to recharge and get set for a busy 2014.
I hope you have a wonderful break whatever you are doing and if you are celebrating Christmas have a very merry one. If you do need some support, or someone you know does, it’s useful to have the numbers below saved into your phone:
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87 (Mon to Thurs 6pm – 2am) (Fri to Mon 6pm – 6am)
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 text: 07725 909090 email: firstname.lastname@example.org (24 hours)
NHS 24: 08454 24 24 24 (out of hours only)
Thanks to everyone who has supported Think Positive this year.
Take care and see you all in the New Year!