Mental health

Christmas is going to be very different this year, with just five days to celebrate the festive season with three households in a selective bubble. Mark Newey, psychotherapist and founder of, shared his tips for putting the 'happy' back into Christmas.

1. Consider who's in your festive 'bauble'

The tier system means many of us will be faced with a choice of limiting who we can see over the festive period. Try to decide who's visiting whom as soon as possible; this will help to clear the situation and give you a chance to have something to look forward to.

Everyone needs to be understanding and big-hearted this year, especially if we're unable to see some relatives, or the ones we want to see decide to go elsewhere.

2. Add some hygge to your home

Make this Christmas about cosiness, respect, and determination to pull together for a good time. In fact, we could all do with some hygge, the Danish concept of winter cosiness, so why not get the decorations up now, put the icicle lights up, light the candles and get the logs on the fire? And if you don’t have a real log fire, a YouTube or Netflix video of a real fire can make an amusing talking point.

3. Exercise

As always, exercise is vital to release endorphins and get ‘happy hormones' flooding through your body. Take the opportunity to wrap up warm and get outside: never has the Boxing Day walk been so vital.

4. Get organised 

To make the most of the festive season and avoid arguments, confrontation and stress, focus on getting all of the organisation done up front, rather than relying on the usual last minute dash; enlist help if necessary.

5. Be open with your feelings

It’s been a turbulent year, but hiding how we feel or putting up with something can cause resentment, which explodes when we feel somebody has gone too far. Consider how you can pre-empt situations, how best to divert issues and ways to deal with tricky scenarios.

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