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19

December


Don't let your 'Stress bucket' overflow. Friday December 19, 2014

Here's some great advice from our friends at Mental Health First Aid to help you over the Festive period and beyond.

Caroline
The Moodscope Team.

Christmas can be a magical time... from the social gatherings with family, parties with friends and work colleagues, the exchanging of gifts, to a break from work… But, for almost everyone, Christmas can be a busy time – and ultimately create another 'layer' in our 'Stress Bucket'.

A key concept during Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is teaching participants how crucial it is to be able to effectively reduce layers of stress using our 'coping tap', to prevent our 'Stress Bucket' from overflowing.

The Stress Bucket analogy is an excellent demonstration of how indiscriminate mental ill health really is, and how easy it is for anyone who doesn't use helpful coping techniques, to develop problems. The size of our buckets (and we all have one) varies - and so for someone more vulnerable to experiencing mental ill health or at the very least, the ill effects of excess stress – may have a smaller bucket.

The 'stress-layers' that flow into our buckets are often those 'normal' daily life events - but they can also include other sources of stress including environmental stress –for example at Christmas time there is additional pressure whether it be financial, social or just the feeling that time is running away from you.

In basic terms, LIFE fills our stress buckets, and in order to reduce those layers in our buckets MHFA teaches self-help strategies i.e. 'the coping tap', to reduce those layers of stress to a manageable level.

Examples of helpful coping may include: talking to a friend, asking for help, ensuring you get adequate exercise and are eating well. This Christmas, try not to spend more than you can afford on presents because those who value and love you will know that it really is the thought that counts. Or if you feel you are running around like a headless chicken, it is time to build in some proper R&R. It is also worth thinking about how much alcohol we drink over the festive season because the cumulative effect can have negative impact on our mood.

Most of all this Christmas, enjoy the time spent with loved ones and take a moment to reflect on what changes you would like to make in the New Year to ensure your stress bucket doesn't overflow from January through to December.


Dawn Collins
MHFA
http://www.mhfaengland.org


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Comments

Anonymous Fri, Dec 19th 2014 @ 6:41am

Thanks for this, I have lost 2 family members this year and my dad has just had a massive stroke. I generally exercise, meditate and eat well and have a good social network, but I think I'll treat myself to a massage later to drain a little out of my bucket, a little extra calm time might be good.

Anonymous Fri, Dec 19th 2014 @ 6:41am

I found this most interesting, and would like to do one that association's courses.

Hopeful One Fri, Dec 19th 2014 @ 7:41am

Hi Dawn-Thanks for putting things in perspective.I will keep an eye on the input and output(tap) side of my stress bucket using the strategies that work for me .Merry Xmas and Happy New year to the MFHA team who do a wonderful job and much appreciated.

Anonymous Fri, Dec 19th 2014 @ 8:12am

Very sad for you at this time. It is so awful to lose family and loved ones. I have lost my Mum this year and my friend has lost her father this week. A dear cousin does not have long left, so it's a dreadful and stressful time for all. I am lighting candles in our church and cathedral and will light one for your loved ones too. Christmas can be stressful, I do hope you get that massage later! K x

Anonymous Fri, Dec 19th 2014 @ 9:11am

Thanks, we are making the most of any points of joy that we can, going to see Dad later and see where we go from here. Love to you and your friend, take care of each other.

Di Murphey Fri, Dec 19th 2014 @ 1:03pm

Dearest Dawn,
I am grateful for your reminders and strategies. Interestingly, this is my first Christmas with using only gifts of time, friendship, and handmade items (I write & illustrate children's stories). It is such fun and deeply meaningful--even with my wee grandbabies! Blessings to you and your loved ones.
Lovingly,
Di Murphey

Anonymous Fri, Dec 19th 2014 @ 7:23pm

Thank you Dawn.
The image of the stress bucket is one that stays with me and as someone who finds emptying it very difficult, I am grateful for the reminder.

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