Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Connect at Christmas: Mental health lecturers urge people to be kind and patient with each other over tough festive period

Scott Macpherson and Dan Warrender.
Scott Macpherson and Dan Warrender.

Two mental health lecturers are urging people to be patient this festive period – not just with others, but yourself too.

Scott Macpherson and Dan Warrender, both previously mental health nurses, now lecture for the school of nursing, midwifery and paramedic practice at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

With traditional Christmas celebrations now curtailed to one day before tougher restrictions are rolled out on Boxing Day, the pair say it is important to strike a balance between wanting to see loved ones and doing what is right for you.

Mr Macpherson said many people would feel additional pressure to meet the expectations of others.

“It’s a difficult balance because if you think not mixing is going to be really bad for your mental health but you’re also concerned about your physical health and that of others, how do you decide?

“How do you strike the balance between feeling OK mentally and physically as well?”

Although the festive period is likely to be different for everyone this year, some will find it harder than others.

As well as loneliness, professionals say some will also be worrying gifts and money, having to spend time with people who trigger them because of previous trauma or who don’t accept their identity.

Mr Warrender said that although there might be heightened feelings of loneliness over Christmas, this can often come down to personal interpretation.

“There is no reason for people to feel worse just because it’s a particular time of year,” he said. “I think what happens at times like Christmas is that you look on the TV and there’s these wonderful adverts with families together.

“There’s something about the culture of Christmas that shows people connecting and coming together – I think there’s a bit of social comparison in a way.”

He suggested trying to let go of what we can’t control, finding things to be grateful for and remembering the pandemic won’t last forever as ways to cope with the heightened emotions.

Both lecturers urged people to be kind, patient and understand that people might be decisions that differ for what they think is right.

“Try to really understand, try to empathise and try to think about why – what might be going on for them, what might be their reasons?” Mr Macpherson said.

“People don’t have to justify themselves or make the same decisions as us.”

For more techniques to deal with anxiety from Mr Macpherson and Mr Warrender, visit www.rgu.ac.uk/news/community-stories/self-isolation-and-mental-health

Anyone struggling can call the Samaritans 24-hours a day on 116 123 or e-mail jo@samaritans.org

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]