2020 or not 2020, the festive season is a difficult time for many of us – and we just wanted to have a quick chat about that.

Hello, and thank for you for clicking on this article. Appreciating the headline could apply to, well, pretty much any of us in 2020, this is a piece for those particularly struggling. For whom the festive season at the best of times isn’t the easiest period of the year, and particularly now.

Everybody’s welcome, of course, and no miracle cures are offered. Just, hopefully, a bit of humanity.

Because specific to the Christmas and new year period, there’s a societal expectation that you have to be upbeat, jolly and fully in the spirit of things. I’ve never quite bought that. I think at the best of times, many of us are putting a bit of a face on things. For many, this time of year is particularly exhausting. It’s a tricky time for mental health. It’s a time that can bring back memories, or a sense of loss and grief too.

I’d simply say this: please look after yourself. It’s perfectly okay for you to carve out some time for yourself, and it’s perfectly okay not to be okay.

We’re all human is the truth of it, no matter how much some people are better at projecting happiness than others. I firmly believe that we never fully know someone else’s story either. That behind the laughter and smiles may be sadness. Who really knows in full what someone else is going through? It’s a time of year where it’s easy to get lost in comparison to others, and that’s never particularly healthy.

The point I’m trying to make is this: nobody is perfect. Nobody has to be perfect. It’s fine not to be.

And you matter. You really do.

If you’re particularly struggling at the moment, a few simple thoughts. Feel free to add better ones in the comments below.

Firstly, talk to someone if you can. It’s particularly difficult this year with the Covid restrictions placed on us all, and so a face to face chat may be off the cards. But if you’re struggling, drop someone a little message. Don’t assume that somebody won’t want to help you if they can. Just because someone else looks really busy and you worry about adding to their plate, I’d bet they’d far rather know that you were struggling a little than not.

If you can’t talk to someone you know, perhaps could you reach out to some of the groups I’ve listed at the bottom of this piece? They’re all in existence because they want to help. Even if something just doesn’t feel quite right, do consider having a chat. I’ve said many times and I truly believe this that you don’t have to be at the end of your tether to get help. People want to help if you’re still near the start of it too.

Another option: just leave a comment below. Comments sections on the internet get a bad reputation, but please be assured here that it’s all human beings. Just say hello. See if someone says hello back. What harm can it do?

So many of us are feeling towards the end of our tethers, and Christmas festivities may be the last or best thing we need. Either way, you really do matter, and I truly appreciate you giving me some of your time.

The very best to you. Please take care. X

Simon and the Film Stories team.



The Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM, has a free and confidential helpline that opens from 5pm-midnight every day. It’s 0800 58 58 58. It also has a webchat service via its website: https://www.thecalmzone.net/2016/12/you-can-talk-to-calm/

If you’re struggling with bereavement, then Cruse is wonderful. It has a free helpline at 0808 808 1677, and you can find its website here https://www.cruse.org.uk/

The Samaritans is open around the clock. Its freephone number is 116 123 from the UK, and you can email [email protected]. You can find its website at www.samaritans.org

If you’re older and struggling, then The Silver Line is a helpline for senior citizens. You can contact it on 0800 4 70 80 90, and it’s open all over Christmas and New Year. Its website is https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/

Conversely, if you’re young and struggling, then Young Minds is a brilliant organisation. You can find its website here: https://youngminds.org.uk/. Young Minds also has resources for parents, too.

If things are really bad, and you’re considering ending everything, then firstly, please just take a pause. Don’t rush. Stop. Take a day. Go for a walk. Talk to someone. Again, we recommend the Samaritans for a quick chat too. They are wonderful people, very much on your side. Again, their details. Its freephone number is 116 123 from the UK, and you can email [email protected]. You can find its website at www.samaritans.org

Also, if you’re worried about a friend or relative, then this wonderful article offers far better guidance than we ever could.

Thank you. And take care.

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