Keep the festive cheer in check

Look after yourself this Christmas. Picture: Rochelle Field. 381343_01

The Christmas holidays, though often a happy and joyful time, can also be a challenging period for some.

“Holiday periods like Christmas and New Year, when people are spending a lot of time together, can generate their own pressures and stresses,’’ South West Hospital and Health Service Acting Mental Health Services Director Ms Sonia Doolan said.

“But there are strategies available to help you through the holiday season – and professionals you can turn to at any time of the day or night.

“Christmas can feel very isolating if you don’t have family and friends nearby.

“If this is the case, it’s important to keep your routine as much as possible and do something you enjoy, such as go for a walk, watch a movie, do some gardening, or cook your favourite meal.

“Christmas time can also be overwhelming for some people with the pressure to buy presents, celebrate and spend time with family and friends.”

Ms Doolan suggested writing a to-do list in the lead-up to Christmas to help you feel organised and not overwhelmed. If money is a stress factor try to think outside the box for gifts.

“If you can’t spend money, do something meaningful or offer to help with preparing a meal, cleaning the house, or babysitting,” she said.

“It’s OK to say no to things and it’s important you spend time with people who are supportive.”

Ms Doolan reminds everyone that it is ok to enjoy some down time, even if it is just a day, morning or afternoon off from the celebrations.

“Remember, you don’t have to go to every activity or get-together,” she said.

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, lonely, or anxious, you can reach out and talk to someone.

“You could reach out to a supportive relative or friend by sending a text or message on social media, inviting someone over for a coffee or making a phone call.”

Ms Doolan said professional mental health support also was available 24/7 by phoning 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255).

Any member of the community seeking a public mental health service anywhere in Queensland can dial this state-wide number.

“By contacting the 24-hour mental health call line, you will be put in contact immediately with an appropriate mental health service for advice and support,’’ Ms Doolan said.

“The 1300 MH CALL number helps us deliver the right care and support at the appropriate time which is important for people experiencing mental health stress.’’

However, Ms Doolan stressed the 1300 MH CALL number was not a replacement for emergency services or support services.

“Mental health consumers and the wider community requiring emergency assistance should continue to use the 000 number in times of emergency,’’ she said.

Ms Doolan said South West residents also should remember it was important to eat healthy and limit their alcohol intake over the festive season.

“What we eat and drink is linked to our mood and both our physical and mental health,” she said.

“While many of us are guilty of overindulging over the festive season, it’s important to eat and drink alcohol in moderation as much as possible.”

Some useful links and contacts:

• For mental health support 24/7 phone 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255).

• Dear Mind:

• Lifeline on 13 11 14 or

• 13 YARN (13 92 76) or

• Kids Help Line 1800 551 800 or

• QLife: 1800 184 527 or

• Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 or

• Headspace: 1800 650 890 or

• Some valuable resources:

• If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, call Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS), a free, 24/7 anonymous and confidential telephone counselling and information service on 1800 177 833 or visit: