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Six tips for festive well-being

As we head into the final few weeks of what’s undoubtedly been a challenging year, we’re focusing on how to look after your well-being and have as peaceful and enjoyable a festive break as possible.

A Christmas stocking hung over a roaring fireplace.
A Christmas stocking hung over a roaring fireplace.

1. Plan ahead

Though the holiday season won’t be quite the same this year, you may still be planning to host or visit another household, have presents to buy and meals to prepare.

When you’re living with a brain tumour or caring for someone who is, this time of year can be busy and stressful. Planning ahead can take some of the pressure off and help you enjoy your festive break.

Taking time to plan in advance will help you keep on top of all of this. Having a calendar to put important dates in can help you stay on track.

Dr Rebecca Mulholland, Senior Clinical Psychologist

2. Ask for help

If there was ever a year to share the load, this is certainly it, so don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. Friends and family will be more than happy to lend a hand, so you can be as much a part of the celebrations as you feel able.

The most important thing is to ask for help if you need it. It’s much easier to sit down with someone and go through all of this to keep it feeling manageable.

Dr Rebecca Mulholland, Senior Clinical Psychologist

3. Get connected

It’s likely that many of us may be travelling less and seeing fewer loved ones this festive season. So why not make good use of technology this year and connect with friends and family over video?

You could hold a quiz with individuals or teams, adapt your favourite board game or card game, or buy a digital version of a game, such as Monopoly. There are also party game apps you can play with others on your mobile or laptop while chatting over video.

The possibilities are endless and are sure to lift your spirits!

The dark nights and cold can make people feel isolated. Make an effort to connect with people and reach out to friends and family, old and new.

Dr Daniel O’Hara, Clinical Psychologist

4. Explore the outdoors

There are lots of benefits to taking part in physical activity when you’re living with a brain tumour. But you don’t have to do vigorous exercise to feel them. Walking is a great way to keep moving and can give you a physical and mental boost. So why not wrap up warm and explore your local area over the festive break?

A little bit of exercise, even if you’re feeling really tired, makes a huge difference in your mood. My son came out for a short walk every day while on radiotherapy last winter, it helped his mood massively.

Karen, member of our Facebook Support Groups

5. Take time for yourself

Over Christmas and New Year, it’s easy to end up doing much more than you’d normally do, which can be tiring. Try to spread activities out so that you have some down time in between. Take a bit of time every day to relax and have some time to yourself, whether that’s focusing on a hobby or enjoying a Christmas boxset.

Remember what it is that makes you feel calm and make sure you spend a bit of time doing that throughout the holidays.

Dr Rebecca Mulholland, Senior Clinical Psychologist

6. Deck the halls

Scientific studies have shown that the act of hanging Christmas decorations helps to release the happy hormone dopamine. So what better way to create a little happiness than by filling your home with these uplifting reminders of joy and celebration?

Tell yourself you deserve to enjoy this! Take pleasure in putting up the tree and seeing the twinkly lights.

Molly, Young Ambassador

We hope you find these tips helpful for looking after your wellbeing this festive season. If you’re looking for more advice on coping with the change in seasons and colder weather, we have tips from our community gathered here.

If you need support this season, you can find out how to contact our Support team, as well as our Christmas and New Year opening hours, on this page.

Finally, from all of us at The Brain Tumour Charity, best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and New Year.