Tweddle Tips to Prioritising your mental health this festive season

Tweddle Tips to Prioritising your mental health this festive season

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While many of us are preparing for holidays and family gatherings, it’s important to remember that challenges with parenting and mental health don’t go away over the festive period. In fact, stress and frustration can magnify existing problems.

If you are a parent of a baby or toddler, the coming weeks are a special time to build memories with family and friends. For some this is also a period of loneliness and isolation, especially after separation. There are various support lines which offer parents and carers support.

Financial and time pressures, isolation, family tensions, separation and divorce, bereavement, step-family challenges, or just reflecting on another year gone by can make for a time of anxiety.

Babies, toddlers and young children can feel your stress so it’s important to look after yourself and those around you. Children will appreciate the gift of your time more than any present they will receive.

Strategies to help reduce stress include having realistic expectations, getting as much rest as possible and understanding that stress might also be affecting those around you. Here are some tips to help you and your family have a mindful holiday and festive season.

Be kind to yourself

As Christmas, the holiday period and the New Year approaches, it is normal and ok to feel burnt out and overwhelmed, especially after a difficult couple of years. Be kind to yourself this festive period and consider changing your expectations to remove stress, while aiming for a mentally healthy festive season.

Reduce Stress

Consider writing festive period timetable, wrap presents as early as possible (not the night before!), have a list that includes the best time to put things in the oven and food planning, have a few small emergency gifts like chocolates on hand and ask people to help you (especially cleaning up and housework).

Don’t put yourself under pressure to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas and spend time with people who are supportive. It’s ok to say ‘no’. The more stressors you can remove the more opportunity you will have to relax and enjoy time with loved ones.

Relationships

Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. Set your expectations realistically. Avoid known triggers. For example, use distraction and quickly move on from conversation topics that might cause stress. Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension. Here is a relaxation/mindful exercise to practice when things get stressful, for both adults and children.

Reduce Alcohol

Reduce alcohol – Alcohol is especially harmful at this time of year when anxiety can be high and can be the impetus for opening old wounds. Drink lots of water and non-alcoholic beverages and try to get enough sleep – plan for as many early nights as you can. Importantly, don’t drink and drive which is illegal and dangerous.

Separated & Blended Families

Around four per cent of Australian families are step-families, while blended families (partners who each have children from prior relationships) account for about three per cent. In some cases, Christmas for these families can be extremely difficult.  Appreciate that now is not the time to sort out long-standing grievances. Christmas is stressful enough as it is. If possible, wait until things have settled down in the New Year. Try not to take arrangements too personally.

Help Others & Practice Gratitude

Helping others or performing small acts of kindness is great way to boost self-esteem for your own mental wellbeing as well as support others who may be going through a difficult time.

Share Your Feelings & Get Support

Talking with a friend, relative or mental health professional about the things that are worrying you can help you to realise that some concerns may not be as important as you thought and can help you focus on one or two things that may be at the root of your worries. There are some contact numbers below for people to reach out to during the festive/holiday period.

If you’re facing a difficult time over the Christmas and New Year period, it’s important to reach out and get support. It could be as simple as sending a text to a friend, making a phone call or inviting someone over for a cuppa to talk about what’s happening.

Children Feel Your Stress

Babies, toddlers, and children pick up on your anxiety and stress, so try to be mindful and take care of yourself. If you are stressed, and you have someone to help you with the children, take some time out and go for a walk. To help babies and children manage stressful times, Tweddle recommend the 6 R’s; Routine, Resources, Regulation, Reassurance, Recognise and Resilience.

Tweddle Closure Period 2021 2022

Tweddle will be closed over the festive period from Thursday 23rd December and reopen on Monday January 17th 2022. Tweddle’s MyTime groups align with school terms so will commence in the first week of February.

If you need parenting support through the holiday period, reach out to the following organisations ;

  • Parentline  13 22 89
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Mensline 1300 78 99 78
  • Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
  • 1800Respect (family violence/sexual assault) 1800 737 732
  • 24 Hour MCH Line 13 22 29
  • CAREinMIND – chat, telephone & video counselling 1300 096 269
  • Tweddle Parenting Info Hub

Everyone at Tweddle wishes you a safe and happy festive season. We look forward to supporting you and your family in 2022


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