Why talking about how you feel can give you a better 2020

"The New Year has begun, but that doesn't mean that the stresses and problems of the last year have magically disappeared. Knowing when to open up and ask for help can be really positive for your mental health.

We’ve asked a mental health nurse to help us tackle some of the most common issues that might affect you at this time of year, inspired by some of the themes in BBC One's A Royal Team Talk. Stars of the pitch, past and present, Danny RosePeter CrouchJermaine Jenas and Gareth Southgate, talk to the Duke of Cambridge and Dan Walker about how they manage their mental health, why it's important to seek help and how they cope with the ups and downs of life.

Why do we find this time of year so hard?

According to Mental Health Nurse consultant Emma Selby there are emotional and physical factors as well as the pressure we put on ourselves around our hopes for the New Year, that all add to making the New Year a difficult time.

Early in the New Year we can face emotional fatigue as the cost of Christmas takes its toll. Physical factors like long nights, bad food and catching colds also reduce our resilience in this period.

"If I hadn't had someone to speak to I would have struggled."

Talking things through with someone you trust can really help when you are faced with difficult feelings. According to retired footballer Peter Crouch his dad made all the difference when he was working through body image issues and dealing with taunts from fans.

Opening up, like Peter did, isn't easy, so we spoke to Emma for some advice on the best way to do it.

Emma's advice

There are different ways to open up, depending on your situation and how comfortable you feel with those around you.

  • Internally – open an honest dialogue with yourself acknowledging the feelings you are having. Try keeping a journal
  • Externally – find someone you trust to talk to.

The first conversation you have doesn’t have to be an outpouring of everything you are worried about.

Top tip

Emma suggests starting a conversation over text or while doing an activity such as walking the dog, if you are worried about taking the plunge. You don't have to pour out every single thing that's worrying you in the first conversation. You can build up to talking about things over a period of time."

You can read the full article from BBC Bitesize here.

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