Tips From A Carer for Christmas

Being a carer of someone with mental health issues can be a tricky task at the best of times but Christmas in particular can be a very challenging time for all - both the person who is suffering from the illness and the people around them.

Christmas is such a time of festivities that when you're not feeling quite yourself it can be tough to cope with all the jollity and it can even bring you down further when you just don’t feel capable of joining in.

I have spent several years with my two daughters who have battled mental health issues and suicide ideation was particularly prevalent at Christmas time. During this period of time we put a few strategies in place in order to help them and then hoped for the best. Below are just some suggestions that might help you.

Ø We always let our children know that we loved them.

Ø That they were important to us.

Ø That we were there for them.

Ø We stayed in contact with them during the days and nights.

Ø We made sure we knew where they were going and who they were with.

Ø We had phone numbers of friends.

Ø They would contact us when on way home, so we knew what time to expect them.

Ø We would not leave them on their own in the house when they were particularly vulnerable..

Ø We would give them their space.

Ø We would bring the madness of Christmas down to a low hum.

Ø We would let new traditions be made if they couldn’t cope with the old ones.

Ø We would be available to talk to them whenever they needed to talk, day or night.

Ø We played games and watched films together, and if the person needed a time out by their self then that was ok. Pressure to continuously engage needs to be lifted from someone who is suffering from emotional distress issues.

Ø We let them know that we believed in them.

Both the girls suffered from an eating disorder so food at Christmas was also an issue and the way we combated this was by,  

  • Buying less food.
  • By having a Christmas menu that suited everyone. After all who's really mad about turkey and ham?!
  • Having food that was nutritionally dense and that they felt comfortable with. This food was then there for everyone and not just the person who was suffering with the illness. This way they didn’t feel different.
  • We respected that they may need to eat more regularly.
Give your loved one the time and space, the love and peace that they may need. Christmas does not appeal to everyone but everyone’s interpretation of Christmas needs to be respected.

Peace and Happiness to everyone during the festive season from a Mam, a Carer, a person who has been there. 


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