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Mental health advent calendar 2021

Illustration showing head with christmas decorations

There’s always lots on our minds during the festive season in the lead up to Christmas and New Year. Sometimes we can benefit from support and advice that can help us look after ourselves so that we can have a more enjoyable festive season.

Our mental health advent calendar includes a daily tip or information you can use to help your mental wellbeing this festive season.

Read Caitlin's Able Futures story

Learn about Able Futures VRCs

See how Able Futures has helped thousands of people this year

Photo of a woman sitting in a cosy chair writing in a notebook

Notice how you're feeling and refocus on your plans for the rest of the year

Throughout this month's festive feelings advent calendar, we've shared tips you could use to learn more about how to look after your mental health. Knowing how you're feeling and what you want to feel for the rest of the year will help you take the actions you need to support your wellbeing. 

Photo of a note saying it's ok to say no

Say no to something you don't need to do

The festive season can feel overwhelming with too much to do. It's OK to say no to somethings. Today, look through the things you've been invited to or activities you've been asked to do before the end of the year, and on days that seem too much, say no to something. The people around you will understand if you explain that you need to balance your energy and attention across the Christmas period and you will more able to focus on the other things you have organised. 

Find out how drink affects your mental health

See how depression affects us

Photo of woman breathing in snowy weather

Try a new breathing technique

How you breathe when you are relaxed or excited plays a part in how you're feeling. So when you're feeling stressed or anxious or worried try focusing on your breath and using a technique to monitor how you're taking air in and out so that you can feel calmer and more able to cope. 

Orange snowflake illustration

Watch Alex tell his Able Futures story

Able Futures helped Alex, aged 62 from Scotland, overcome anxiety and feel better about the future. 

Give 10 minutes of your time to help someone

The positive power of giving time, some help or a gift cannot be underestimated. It can help our mental wellbeing because it helps us feel friendly and festive and better about ourselves.

Learn about how sleep affects our mental wellbeing

Sleep is as essential to our bodies and our brains as eating, drinking and breathing. We can all experience issues getting a good night's sleep and struggle to feel well if we have sleep problems. Our mental health can be affected if we don't get the sleep we need, and mental health problems can sometimes make it more difficult to get good sleep.

Read David's story

Able Futures helped nurse David cope with grief and stress to feel better able to keep working. 

Learn how anxiety affects us

Our brains and our bodies respond to anxiety in many ways, so that we can feel sick, distressed, unable to sleep and on an emotional roller coaster. 

Photo of a calendar and pencil

Schedule some time for you

Make a date in the diary and schedule some time for you this Christmas. Whether it's a regular daily time to take a break to have a cuppa and spend a few minutes thinking about things that are important to you or a full afternoon to take time away from work or family or chores to spend time doing something you've been wanting to do for ages, scheduling time for yourself this festive season is a good way to ensure you're able to focus on what's important to you and therefore be able to manage the rest of your time in a way that delivers the Christmas you want. 

Yellow snowflake illustration

Learn where you can go for support if you need it

Able Futures can give you nine months support, advice and guidance from a mental health specialist, if something is playing on your mind at work. There are no waiting lists and you do not have to be diagnosed with a mental health issue. 

Photo of someone writing in a journal

Try keeping a journal to track your feelings

When you first wake up, have a few minutes to yourself to sit and reflect during the day, or before you go to sleep, try writing your feelings down in a journal as a way to remind yourself of the emotions you are experiencing and the things that may be triggering these feelings. 

Find out how what we eat affects our mental health

Sometimes what we choose to eat and drink is not as healthy as we would like it to be, and this means our brains and bodies do not have the vitamins and minerals they need to work at their best. We can feel sluggish or low, find it difficult to get good sleep, struggle to learn new skills and feel down about ourselves. 

Photo of someone crafting

Try doing something new after work

Doing something new shows your brain that things can be different and this can help you feel able to reset thinking patterns that may be making us feel bad. Try something new like walking a different way home from work, or book yourself onto a online class to do some crafting or cooking or choose whatever suits you. 

Get active: go outside for a walk

Being active is one of the 5 ways we can all use to look after our mental wellbeing at any time of the year. Getting outside to get some daylight also helps us get some of the vitamins and energy we need to feel well. 

Orange snowflake illustration

See how stress affects our brains and our emotions

The way we respond to stress is an instinctive part of our brain and body's defensive mechanisms. 

Join our webinar at 2pm today

Our Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant Jean Langford will be talking about issues that can affect how people feel during the festive season, and how Able Futures can provide support now and for nine months to help us cope at any time of the year. 

Woman looking at her computer surrounded by Christmas lights

Ask yourself how you want to feel this festive season? 

Do you want to have a relaxed Christmas? Do you want to keep up to date with friends and family? Do you want to be busy?

Knowing how you feel now, and how you want to feel, can help you prioritise the things you have to do over the next few weeks and give you reasons to do more of what helps or say no to things that aren't helping.

Photo of a man talking on the phone

Connect with someone you've missed

Arrange a call, send a card or email someone you've missed connecting with. Keeping in touch with other people can help us by lowering anxiety and depression, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and it can help us regulate our emotions. 

Coping at Christmas

Read more tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing this Christmas.

Watch Toni tell her Able Futures story

Thanks to Able Futures, Toni has been given support to look after her mental health and she has also been put on the path to a rewarding career.

Able Futures can give nine months support, advice and guidance to help you through the festive season and into the new year