YMCA London woman winter

9 December 2019

Or that’s what we are lead to believe…

Christmas – For some it may be, for some it isn’t and for some it’s somewhere in between.

However, for all its hard to avoid. Step outside your door and you are met with images of merriment, happiness and fun. Stay inside and many adverts will be focused on family, presents and laughter. We are lead to believe this is most people’s reality.

More importantly, is ‘what does Christmas mean to you’?  Do you do things in the lead up or over Christmas because you ‘should’ do, ‘have’ to or ‘want’ to? Understanding why we are doing things and which of these categories these fall into can be a useful way of understanding our motivation, but also what will help to understand what will give us pleasure and enjoyment.

Being realistic about our own expectations and trying not to measure these against other people can also be helpful.

Ways to support your wellbeing over the Christmas Period:

  • Pace yourself

There’s often pressure to ‘squeeze things in’ before Christmas. Taking a few minutes to ask yourself, do I have to do this now, when does it need to be done by or can it wait, will help to gain a perspective and not be drawn into the Christmas rush.

  • Look after yourself

Make time for you. Doing something you enjoy will help to make Christmas more enjoyable. It may be a film or box set, eating something you like, or reading that book you haven’t had time for, or download a podcast.

  • Get outside

A walk, whether it’s around the block, somewhere different, to a park or the river is always beneficial to our wellbeing. Fresh air, wrapping up, and being nature has restorative benefits

  • Do something different

There are many free things to do – walk around some of London’s landmark or through the back streets and look at the illuminations, Christmas Carols take place in Trafalgar square and St Paul’s Cathedral

Volunteer – there are a wide range of organisations that need additional help so you can consider supporting others and giving your time, try individual organisations such as your local hospice, Age Concern or look at www.londonist.com which has lots of ideas and links to volunteering opportunities

  • Sleep

Sleep helps us to function, so try to make sure you get enough sleep and plan some earlier nights or a lie in.


Being honest about how you are feeling is helpful, you may have a family member or friend you can talk to. If not, there are many organisations you can call:

Release Counselling service  is in the heart of Surbiton (and coming soon to Wimbledon) offering professional and affordable counselling for individuals & couples .The service is based in comfortable rooms at YMCA Surbiton. We aim to offer you your 1st session within 2 weeks of you contacting us.

If you need instant support you can call:

  • Samaritans are available on 116 123 (UK) for free, 24/7. They are there to talk to, listen and they won’t judge or tell you what to do.
  • A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58 (UK). They are available 5pm-midnight 365 days a year.
  • For support in a crisis, Text Shout to 85258. If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support.  Shout can help with urgent issues such as: Suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, relationship challenges.
  • Silverline – 24 hour support for older people – 0800470 8090

9 December 2019