The best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is self-care

The festive season is here, and with it comes a range of extra social commitments, financial stressors and other things that can be heavy for us to carry in our mental load.

Mental health issues at Christmas affect more of us than you might think. A survey from Priory Private Healthcare showed that 54% of people worried about the mental health of someone they knew at Christmas, and that 26% thought Christmas made their own mental health worse.

If you find yourself looking at the festive season as a liability rather than a joyous time, take some time out for yourself, re-assess the critical commitments in your life and say no where you can.

Self-care is not selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.

Manager Adult Mental Health at Ballarat Community Health, Amanda Ford says the need for self-care is obvious.

“We have an epidemic of anxiety and depression happening here in Ballarat and self-care is part of the answer to how we can all better cope with daily stressors”, she said.

“Self-care is anything that you do for yourself that helps to relieve stress and minimise things that are detrimental to your mental and physical health.”

According to Susannah Winters in her TEDxHiltonHeadWomen talk, the 4 components of self-care that will support your overall wellness are nourishing foods, stillness & movement, time in nature and self-expression. She talks about avoiding things like indulging in alcohol or other behaviours that seem to be self-care but that are detrimental to us longer term.

“In the lead up to Christmas and the New Year period, I urge members of the community of Ballarat to take care of themselves and each other,” Ms Ford said.

“There are physical and mental health supports available to us all that are open right throughout the season.”

“Try to eat well, get plenty of exercise and set your own limits when it comes to commitments and extracurricular activities.”

“Please reach out if you are not okay, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are people here to help you, no matter your circumstance,” she said.

Ballarat Community Health offers a range of mental and physical health services as well as wellbeing programs across Ballarat and the surrounding region. Our services are for everyone, no matter their background or circumstance. Visit our website for more information (

Ballarat Community Health’s Wendouree (1042 Howitt street) site will be open over the Christmas break. Over the Christmas period, our mental health teams will be providing ongoing appointments and support as needed during all days except public holidays. They can be contacted via our intake phone – 0490 819 710. Urgent GP appointments can be made via or by calling 5338 4500.

For mental health support, visit or call HeadToHealth on 1800 595 212. For urgent help, call Lifeline 13 11 14.


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