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21November

Looking after your Mental Elf at Christmas Time

Written by Matt Allman Posted in General Advice

Looking after your Mental Elf at Christmas Time

There’s no denying it that the festive season is well and truly underway. As early as August, when the sun was still shining, some shops had their stock out for Christmas and we are now bombarded daily with adverts telling us what products and brands we should buy for ourselves and other people. The John Lewis Bear and Rabbit ad is on our screens costing a massive £1 million to make - money well spent? You decide!

For some it is a great time of year, parties, families, friends, presents all round but for others, especially when you are young and see your mates having a great time. It can be quite lonely if you haven’t got anyone to spend it with or are in care miles away from family and friends. 

If we believe all the adverts we see on TV, in shops and on billboards, we may think that unless we are sitting around a big table eating excessive amounts of food and sharing expensive presents then we are not having a good time. Do not fear, as this is not the case.

It’s really important, especially when you are younger at this time of year, to remember not just what Christmas is about, but what it means to us as individuals. For some it can be a very sad time, a time when we may think too much, and many people get depressed at Christmas time. 

Before I run the risk of sounding like ‘The Grinch’ or ‘Scrooge’ here are some tips for keeping a healthy body and mind during the build up to Christmas:

  • Keep safe – Please don’t end up in a police cell and tell people where you are going when you go for nights out: arrange a safe lift or taxi home. If you are worried or depressed stick around people and try and take your mind off things
  • Spend what you can afford – Make your own budget and stick to it. Did you know many people pay for Christmas expenses using credit and pay day loans when there’s really no need
  • Think about others – Help out an elderly neighbour or a friend who may be alone at Christmas. Also try not to pressure parents/carers or relatives. Nearly 50% of parents felt pressured to buy more than they could afford for their children last year
  • Wait until January – If you can afford to buy that Xbox or IPad, can it wait until the New Year when it might be cheaper?  Clothes can be a real bargain in January where you can save up to 70% or more, that’s £70 in every £100 you spend
  • Take the opportunity – January can be a quiet month but also can be a great time to find that job or move house as people overspend at Christmas and are generally less likely to make such big decisions around their lives, so give out your CV and be the first in as that New Year- New Start mindset can help business’s think about the future. You never know, you may be their next apprentice by Spring!

Most of all, just have a nice Christmas with the people you choose to spend it with. For example, a few years ago on Christmas Eve, when I was working in a Children’s Home in Essex we drove all the young people down to London and walked around. We took in the atmosphere and had a laugh. It only cost the fuel, but was great!

About the Author

Matt Allman

Matt Allman

Matt Allman is a Personal Adviser for TCHC. He has extensive experience working with young adults including young people leaving care, young people/children in care, young offenders, disabled young people, behaviour management, mental health, participation and children’s rights.

Matt has been praised by his peers for his ability to work with young people of all ages in all types of situations. He is dedicated, patient and  persistent while assisting young clients to achieve their goals.

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