S is for Support

The countdown to Christmas has begun, and it is associated with a time of joy, celebration, and spending quality time with loved ones. But it’s important to remember that this time of year isn’t always merry and bright for everyone. In fact, for some, it can be pretty challenging. That’s why checking in with yourself and others is vital to ensure we all have the support we need, especially when it comes to our mental health. So, let’s dive into the importance of support, reaching out, and making a difference in someone’s life.

Why should I check in with myself?

Before we can support others, it’s essential to start by checking in with yourself. Life can get busy, especially during the festive season; it can be stressful trying to create the ‘perfect Christmas’. It’s easy to overlook your own well-being when focusing on holiday preparations or meeting work deadlines. But just as you would ask a friend if they’re okay, extending the same care to yourself is so important. Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “How am I really feeling?”

Whether it’s stress, anxiety, or a general sense of overwhelm, acknowledging and validating your own emotions is the first step towards improving your mental health. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. Once you’ve recognised what you’re experiencing, seeking the support you need becomes easier.

Why should I reach out to others? 

Support isn’t just about receiving help, it’s also about making a difference in someone’s life. You might not realise it, but your small act of reaching out can have a massive impact on someone else’s well-being. A simple question like, “How are you doing?” or “Is there anything I can do to help?” can go a long way in letting someone know you care.

During the holiday season, the pressure to maintain a facade of happiness and cheer can be immense. But it’s important to remember that not everyone may be feeling the same way. Some people may be dealing with grief, loneliness, or financial stress. By offering support, we create a safe space for others to share their struggles, knowing they won’t be judged or dismissed.

How can giving and receiving support affect my mental health?

Support and mental health are tightly linked. When you feel supported, it can significantly improve your overall well-being. Knowing that someone cares about your feelings and experiences can reduce stress and feelings of isolation. Also, when you offer support to others, it can boost your own mental health as well. It allows you to build empathy, kindness, and connection – all important elements for maintaining good mental well-being.

The run-up to Christmas can be particularly challenging for many people, as it can bring up memories, expectations, and sometimes painful reminders of loss or past hardships. So, this year, let’s encourage open conversations about mental health. Checking in with others can make a real difference in someone’s life, and it gives you a deeper understanding of what they are going through so you know how best to support them. Having this open discussion allows you to express how you feel too and get the support you need, so it works both ways.

As we approach Christmas, let’s prioritise support and mental health. Remember, it’s not just about the gifts we give or the decorations we put up – it’s about the connections we foster and the kindness we spread.

So, take a moment to check in with yourself and reach out to others to ask how they’re doing, and truly listen. Create a space where it’s okay not to be okay and where support is readily available. 

Remember, you are not alone. Reach out, share your feelings, and let the support you receive help brighten the festive season.

*If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, reach out to a mental health professional or helpline in your country.

To find out more on this topic…

Listen to our ‘S for Support’ podcast episode

Z to A of Life Skills Podcast with Mark and Jules Kennedy.

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