Donegal Mind Wellness

Tips for Minding Your Mental Health this Christmas

With Christmas just one week away we wanted to reach out to you from Donegal Mind Wellness and give you some tips for minding your mental health over the festive season.

  1. Temptation is everywhere this time of year from food to alcohol to overspending. Remember these pleasures are all short term. Be mindful, slow down, drink less, spend less and remember nutrition can significantly impact your mental health. A healthy body is a healthy mind.
  2. Stay active, get outdoors, go for a winter walk and keep the immune strong. If the weather is too bad then Youtube a home exercise video and keep moving.
  3. For some of us Christmas is a lonely time of year, perhaps you are dealing with grief or like a lot of homes, family life just isn’t a bed of roses. Solitude isn’t the answer get outdoors, attend the local events happening in your area or engage with local charities to volunteer and help others in need. Pop into your local family resource center before they close and find out what is happening in your area.
  4. Perhaps uncomfortable interactions are unavoidable; however we can always chose how we respond to situations in our lives and sometimes saying the least and killing them with kindness works best. We can’t change others but we can change how we see them or respond to them. Have compassion that we are all individuals on our own journeys and try accepting others as they are without judgement.
  5. Maybe you are running around last minute shopping, while getting the kids ready for their school plays and stressing over dinner. SLOW DOWN!! Take a moment to yourself; find a quiet space and listen to a meditation or read a book. Go for a walk alone and just breath. We are better able to give when we take time to look after ourselves, self care is smart not selfish. Don’t get caught up in the rush go at a pace that is right for you.
  6. As we approach 2020 thankfully we are in a generation that is growing more and more aware of mental health issues. This time of year is full of invites to parties and events and if you are struggling with anxiety or depression the thought of a noisy event is your worst nightmare right now. Having good people around you is important, connect or reconnect with family or friends and speak openly about how you are feeling. Do something low key that will make you feel better.
  7. Ask for help!! Talk to your GP before Christmas about what support they can offer you and don’t hesitate to reach out many services especially helplines are open during Christmas. Follow link for contact details.
  8. It’s very important to get plenty of sleep!! You might find your routine a little out of sync this time of year and if we lose our sleep it affects our immune, our mood and our overall performance. You might find this guide to better sleep of some use. Alternatively speak to your GP.

We hope some of these tips are helpful to you over the festive season and encourage you not to get too silly this season rather indulge in some self care, family, friends, your local community and the simple things in life. Never compare yourself to others as we don’t truly know what our individual journeys are about. Take care, be mindful and be kind. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Our Mental Health, Our Responsibility.

We’ve come a long way in the last number of years with regards to mental health. We are far more open, aware and understanding of the issues surrounding mental health. Businesses, schools and communities are pulling together to fight the stigma and put education and supports in place to enable people to help themselves and help others. A key message from Donegal Mind Wellness this winter is to remember the responsibility starts with you and I, the individual.


Minding our mental health is our responsibility. Not always easy to accept especially when  at our lowest and in need of help. Thankfully we are in a time when the supports are there, we need to empower ourselves to reach out. It’s about taking the right steps towards wellness and sometimes that means pushing ourselves to do the things we least feel like doing.


We are mid November now, the evenings are long, dark and cold, Christmas is everywhere already and we may be feeling vulnerable for one reason or another. For some seasonal depression is creeping in or perhaps you are just overcoming or experiencing a huge event in your life. 


Unfortunately there is no complete guide to managing our mental health as we are all very individual and what works for one may not work for another but below we have come up with a guide of some things that may be helpful to you. 


  • This time of year the temptation is there to hibernate by the fire but isolation can feed depression and anxious thoughts. Beat the blues and join a club, gym, swimming pool, pilates class ,dance class, cooking class, book club. The options are endless get onto Google or Facebook events near me and see what’s out there for you. 


  • Perhaps you’ve fallen in a rut, you’ve been putting your kids first for years and now everyone’s flew the nest and you haven’t the confidence to get out there and try something new? Maybe you were caring for a parent who recently passed and your feeling isolated. Social Prescribing is a great place to start, meet with a coordinator in your area who will link you in with people in similar shoes and social activities in your area. Follow link for more info and contact details on this free service.


  • Stay Connected! Maybe your sitting at home feeling the blues when your neighbour, extended family member or someone in need is doing the exact same thing just a few miles apart. Visit someone or sign up to a volunteer service like ALONE , supporting elderly people in need or visit for more ideas on how to get community involved.


  • Managing our mental health is a lot to do with self awareness and understanding what is going on within ourselves. Maybe we are stuck in years old negative thought patterns and have just accepted things the way they are but change is possible. CBT, Mindfulness, Counselling and Psychotherapy are all good places to start. We recommend visiting your GP and speaking openly about what your experiencing for more tailored advice on these services. Alternatively see your local family resource center for advice on services and supports in your area


  • Maybe you’ve found yourself at rock bottom and can’t see a way forward. The thought of socializing seems unbearable and your mental health has deteriorated beyond “Self Help”. It’s important to remember that you are not alone!! No matter how complex your home life may seem, how in depth you are financially or how isolated or alone you may feel. No matter what your negative thoughts are telling you about yourself or previous mistakes you’ve made in your life, take advice from someone who has been there, your truly not alone. You can turn it all around make the call today and keep fighting for your own health and wellbeing. Never give up. Follow this link now to the “Need Help Now” section on Mental Health Ireland’s web page and take action now, lift the phone. The first step towards well being starts here with you.


We hope you find this article useful. Wishing you all a winter full of good health and happiness from Niamh, Donegal Mind Wellness.

Stress Control on Highland Radio

Christina Corbett, Senior Clinical Psychologist with the HSE, based in Buncrana was speaking on Highland Radio with Shaun Doherty today (6th Jan) at noon about Stress Control. Christina and the team of facilitators are doing a study with Serenity House, Moville to see how effective the Stress Control programme is for people who do it. Christina also spoke generally about how stress is becoming more of a problem in peoples lives leading to more people presenting to GP’s with anxiety or depression.

Visit the Highland Radio website to hear the conversation