The festive season is here, and it feels like every Victorian is out kicking up their heels in celebration.
But the Yuletide season isn’t a joyous one for everyone, says Jo Pioro, a Consultant EMDR/Trauma Therapist at cohealth.
“This time of year can create feelings of depression and anxiety, trigger past trauma and amplify family tensions,” says Jo.
“As counsellors and health professionals we notice the impact of Christmas on people’s mental health. As a community we should recognise that some people might need extra support and care at this time of year. And individuals need to know that their feelings are valid, and that there are things they can do to feel better.”
Jo says that the combination of a global pandemic, anxiety around emerging from lockdown and the festive season can be a triple whammy for some.
“After two years of uncertain, and sometimes scary, times people’s resilience has taken a hit. It’s really important that we’re kind to ourselves, and to each other during the holiday period,” says Jo.
Here are some tips for staying on top of your mental health and wellbeing:
Vision – watching tv or your favourite movie, walking in a pretty part of town/city, look at your most loved photos, look at a book with beautiful scenery, draw and get creative.
Hearing – listen to your favourite music, sit on the beach and listen to the waves, listen to nature, when you listen be mindful let the sounds come and go.
Smell – Notice all the different smells around you. Walk in a garden or in the woods, maybe just after a rain, and breathe in the smells of nature. Light a scented candle or incense. Cook something nice or bake some cakes and take in all the smells.
Taste – Have a special treat, and eat it slowly, savouring each bite. Cook a favourite meal, drink a soothing drink like herbal tea or hot chocolate. Let the taste run over your tongue and slowly down your throat, taste your favourite sweeties and chocolate.
Touch – Have a bubble bath, pet your animals, put on clothes that feel soft, make your bed with soft cosy bedding. Float or swim in a pool and feel the water all around your body.
cohealth offers a range of mental health programs and counselling services across the north and west of Melbourne, with skilled practitioners who are trained to meet the diverse needs of the community.
cohealth does not operate a crisis service for people needing immediate help. It’s important that you know there is help available if you need it quickly.
The following services are open throughout the Christmas break:
Depression, anxiety and related disorders
24 hours/7 days
1300 22 4636
Crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services
24 hours/7 days
13 11 14
For additional mental health helplines, go to healthdirect.gov.au.