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A festive season message from Beyond Blue Chair the Hon. Julia Gillard AC

19 December 2018

The festive season can be a wonderful time for coming together, for reflection – and of course, for celebration. It’s about relaxing with friends, family and loved ones.

However, the experts at Beyond Blue recognise that sometimes holidays can also bring on stress, anxiety and depression, particularly among those dealing with loneliness, relationship difficulties or financial worries.

In fact, as others chatter excitedly about their plans, you might actually be thinking to yourself that there is no good answer to the question ‘how are you going to spend Christmas and New Year’s Day?’. 

We want you to know that you’re not alone, and there is hope.

You might be worried that if your family gets together, then it may well bring conflict to the surface. In that case, staying calm and looking for the good in people can help ease the tension.

Staying away from family or having no family to go to can also be stressful. It’s easy to feel left out and alone.

So if you’re expecting to spend Christmas without your family this year, and you know it will be hard, there are a couple of things that might help.

You might plan to spend time with friends instead. If you don’t have mates around you and are definitely going to be alone, then making a playlist of your favourite songs or visiting the movies might help you relax.

Whichever situation you are in – a tense family event or home alone – it’s worth knowing that alcohol can worsen the symptoms of depression and anxiety, no matter the time of year.

The number one thing to remember this season is if you’re in strife and you need support for your mental health, reach out and ask.

If they’re around, visit your GP or psychologist. If they are taking time off, find out now about the locum arrangements, just in case you need to get in touch.

There are also plenty of tips on the Beyond Blue website, which includes online forums where people can share their personal experience or share holiday coping tips.

Or you can contact the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 131 114.

I hope Christmas and the New Year are a time of peace and joy for you. But if you should need it, help is on hand.

Further reading: Coping with Christmas

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