Taking care of yourself through the holiday season

Christmas is often hailed as the “most wonderful time of the year,” evoking images of joy, warmth, and togetherness. However, for many people this festive season will be a complex and challenging time, and a reminder of what is missing or yearned for, rather than a time to celebrate.

It can be tempting to compare to others’ plans and as a result to feel lacking. Comparing is usually never helpful, and can increase feelings of grief and sadness.


Charles Dickens:

“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year, but Christmas doesn’t make everyone’s heart light. For some, it accentuates the shadows they carry.”


Mary Ellen Chase:

“While some hearts are light with the spirit of Christmas, others carry the heavy burdens of life. Let us be mindful and kind, for everyone is fighting a battle we may not see.”


As the holiday season approaches, it may help to take some time to reflect upon how the holiday season effects you, and how to take care of yourself during this time. These prompts may be helpful:


How have I found the last few holiday celebrations?

What’s coming up for me during this time?

What were the main challenges I faced in years gone by?

What has helped me to cope in the past?

Have I used drinking/drugs/other behaviours too much to help me to cope?

Have I found myself eating everything in sight?

Have I gone out and spent too much?


At this time of year, perhaps more than other times, it could help to ask yourself what do I need in this moment, during this time?

How can I show up for myself no matter who I am with, no matter what I am doing, no matter what is happening?

Some ideas for self-care include:

  • Take time out for yourself – for reflection, to re-stabilise, to listen to the inner conversations, to tune into your needs, and to ground yourself in the present again.
  • Have breakfast in bed and enjoy some lie-ins
  • Do some exercise
  • Nourish yourself with healthy food
  • Have a massage
  • Buy yourself flowers or pick yourself a flower
  • Light a candle
  • Take a break to be in nature – consciously breathe in the air, sights and sounds
  • Take a relaxing walk in the park
  • Have a manicure or pedicure
  • Watch the sunset
  • Gaze at the night sky
  • Watch a funny movie or online clip
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Call a good friend
  • Let yourself dawdle
  • Write postcards or letters
  • Cook something special
  • Sift through inspiring quotes
  • Look at favourite photos

If you, or someone you know, needs urgent mental health support this christmas season, please know the following services can help:

Lifeline 131 114

Mental Health Line 1800 011 511

Emergency Services Call 000

Domestic Violence 1800 RESPECT (24 hours) 1800 737 732

Child Protection Helpline 132 111

Family Relationship Advice Line 1800 050 321

Mensline 1300 789 978

Other Counselling and Mental Health Services
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
QLIFE 1800 184 527
Suicide Call Back Service 1300659 467
Alcohol and Drug Information Service 1800 422 599
Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you would like some help. To enquire about an appointment at Moving Forward Clinical Psychologists, please complete our Online Contact Form, or call us on 1300 133 013. Our experienced Clinical Psychologists are located in Terrigal (10 minutes from Erina) on the beautiful NSW Central Coast. We are also available Australia wide, via Telehealth.