Shropshire Council

Taking care of your mental health at Christmas time

25 November 2021 Last updated at 10:29

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” is a phrase that is frequently used over the Christmas festive period. However, large celebrations (e.g Christmas, Eid, Diwali) may mean different things for different people and for lots of young people (and adults) large celebrations might bring up different feelings and emotions. For people with mental health and/or SEN this can be even more difficult.

Below are some top tips to consider over festive periods:

  • Changes to “normal” routines may increase worry and stress. Try to plan ahead and give pre-warning around changes.
  • Using timetables written/visual, social stories and/or now and then next cards might help with planning and managing for upcoming changes. Information on these can be found on autism west midlands website and The National Autistic Society
  • Maintain other routines as far as possible, e.g. regular bath, bed and meal times.
  • Keep on top of sleep and rest! Sleep is vital for mental health and emotional wellbeing alongside physical health.
  • Allow time out and/or quiet time. Have a plan for where this “calm space” will be, and agree this in advance with the child/young person when visiting relatives’ homes. Let them know that they can access this without judgement.
  • Let others in your social network know that your child/young person might need some time out.
  • Remove “pressure” to “be happy”, and recognise and validate the emotions the child/young person is experiencing. They might need help recognising emotions.
  • Be aware of the challenges that presents might bring and the expectations from others around bringing gifts, its okay if your child wants to pop them to the side to open for later
  • To help reduce stress on parents respond to well-meaning advice with “I shall have a think about that”
  • Build in “self care” activities for parents/carers and young people. Mental health/emotional wellbeing self care is probably even more important at festive times.
  • Give yourself permission to say no and decline social activities and events if things are feeling overwhelming.
  • Use relaxation strategies. Breathing activities- square breathing, “5 senses” grounding activity, mindfulness and/ progressive muscle relaxation, are some ideas. You can find some more information at:

Young Minds



Please note: If more help is needed with regards to mental health and wellbeing please access the above services for support. More information can also be found at: and via the SEND Website. Information is also available on these websites on what to do and who to access in crisis.