Health bosses in Northamptonshire are urging people to take 5 steps to remain healthy and positive now the new year`s arrived.
Officials at the Nene and Corby Clinical Commissioning Group say the festive season can be difficult for those who struggle to keep themselves feeling upbeat.
It can also have a serious impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.
The five ways to happiness and wellbeing are:
Connect – Relationships are the most important overall contributor to happiness. Close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. So take action to strengthen relationships and create new connections with people around you, family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. Connecting with others including by telephone and Internet can help those who can’t get out.
Be active – Go for a walk, run, cycle, garden, dance – find something you enjoy. Staying active is a great way to fend off the winter blues as well as good for our physical health.
Take notice – Be curious, take notice, be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life – like our walk to work, the way we eat or our relationships. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Keep learning – Try something new, rediscover an old interest, sign up for a course. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun and improve your wellbeing.
Give – Do something for a friend, neighbour or volunteer your time to a community group. Being there for neighbours who are on their own over Christmas can be incredibly rewarding for them and you. Its not all about money and giving presents most people want each others presence rather than excessive presents!
It can be easy to slip out of your normal routine over Christmas and if you re already feeling low, this can help you get into poor sleep patterns such as staying up late and sleeping during the day. Even if your social or work routines change, you should still try to get up at your normal time and make sure to keep having regular meals.
Christmas is often a time of unhealthy excess, maintaining healthy control over what we eat what we drink and what we spend could help us prevent the most depressing day of the year which is the last Monday of January often when people realise how much they have spent at Christmas.
Drinking excessive alcohol can often make people feel more depressed. So although it s great to get out and have fun, if you are using drinking as a way of coping, masking your emotions or to fill your time, it s important to try and cut down and if possible stop completely.
Although these changes and tips can help make a difference, Nene CCG advises that if someone is feeling low, there is help available from the NHS and voluntary organisations which offer timely friendly support.
Dr Smart added: It s a common misconception that everything is closed over Christmas apart from A&E. People with medical health needs as well as those with emotional or mental health needs can also call the free helpline, NHS 111; they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can provide immediate advice and signposting to the appropriate service.
Other organisations provide round-the-clock support, including Silver Line, a support team for the elderly, whose 24/7 helpline is 0800 4 70 80 90. Their motto is: No problem too big. No problem too small. No need to be alone.
You can also ring SANEline, a specialist mental health helpline on 0845 767 8000 between 6pm and 11pm each evening. Or you can ring the Samaritans any time of the day or night on 08457 90 90 90. They offer a listening service.