‘Tis the season to be jolly, and I hope yours is a good one.

For anyone who struggles with their mental health and well-being, this time of year can prove more difficult.

Here are my tips to help you cope better with the demands of the festive season; and how you can help someone else who may be struggling.

1. Last minute shopping is one of the most stressful parts of Christmas for many people, so make it easier on yourself. If you have forgotten a present for somebody or need to get one at the last minute, just give yourself some thinking time.

Don’t rush out and buy something over-priced or unsuitable. If you really are unsure, get someone a gift voucher from a shop they like, and let them bag themselves a bargain in the Boxing Day sales.

2. Enjoy yourself this party season but do remember that alcohol is actually a depressant. Don’t be afraid to say no if someone is trying to get you to have that extra drink that you really don’t want.

Know your limit and stick to it. Remember it is a long holiday season so pace yourself.

3. If the thought of a family gathering or other event is causing you to negatively forecast all the things which could go wrong, just take a moment to remember the fact that most of the things we worry about never happen.

However, if you have to disappoint someone else in order to look after your own mental well-being so be it.

4. If you are at your own event, or someone else’s and you can feel yourself becoming stressed or anxious, take yourself out for a brisk walk to clear your head.

If that is not possible, take yourself off to the bathroom for 10 minutes if necessary, and take some slow deep breaths in and out, counting as you do it.

This simple technique can work really quickly to lower your stress levels. It can help you to quickly reassess the situation if things are becoming a little tense or overbearing.

5. Whether it is the works party, a family gathering or any other event – remember that not everything you see is necessarily as it appears, so don’t compare yourself to others. It is a habit many of us have got into thanks to social media.

Just think of all the party-snapshots you see on Facebook etc., where many things look too good to be true, they usually are.

Lastly, have yourselves a fabulous Christmas and don’t forget, if you know of anyone on their own this Christmas, it is the perfect time to check they are OK.

Perhaps pop a card through their door letting them know they can call on you if they need to. A moment of festive kindness could make all the difference to someone.

The Samaritans are open 24/7 across the festive season if you find yourself in crisis call 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258