This is a time of year when most are enjoying time with family and friends, sharing laughter and love.
But what happens if your loved ones are far away or you have no one to connect with? It can be a trying time, to say the least.
Carrie shares some tips to help you get through this festive season.....
It can be bad enough being on your own, but somehow at this time of year, those feelings of sadness and despair can be magnified by seeing others around you seemingly having a great time.
There is no doubt that our mental health significantly improves when we feel connected to other people, being able to talk to someone who cares is the foundation of counselling and other therapies. Feeling the joy of touch, having that physical contact is another way to improve mental health.
So what can you do if you feel you have no one to share this time of year with?
The first thing to remember is that often people present a "public face" that can be very different from reality for them. So when you see people apparently having a great time, connected to that someone special, remember that all may not be quite what it seems. They will have their own challenges to deal with.
If you are worried about spending the "special" day on your own then you may wish to consider contacting some of the agencies who offer a free Christmas lunch to those in need. You may wish to consider volunteering your time to help serve or simply to help out on the day or you may want to go along and join the fun. It is a great way to connect with others and you may even find a way to help out on a regular basis giving you a whole new group of people to get to know and share times with.
If you love animals you may wish to consider helping out at an RSPCA center to give yourself the opportunity to touch and stroke an animal and help out the over-stretched services that such organizations offer. Caring for animals can help us to care for ourselves too.
BeyondBlue suggests getting out of your comfort zone. Break your normal routine and do something completely out of the ordinary – it’s a great way to boost your mental health and you may even make new friends along the way. Take a new class, volunteer, travel to a new city: choose something that gives you a different experience and perspective on life.
BeyondBlue also suggests starting a healthy habit. Holidays allow you more time, so make the most of it by introducing a healthy habit into your daily routine. There are many options that could help improve your mental health: exercise, eat healthy food, meditate, write in a journal, and connect more regularly with friends. The trick to forming a new habit is to start small and link it to regular behaviour. You might try journalling after waking or calling your parents after dinner each Sunday
Above all remember you are unique and no other single person has the skills and qualities that you have to share. You have value.
Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy holiday time.