Mental Health tips over the Holiday Period

Tips courtesy of OnTrack, New Zealand's tri-code mental health initiative

While the holiday season is often associated with cheer and celebration, it can bring about some challenges too, such as financial difficulties, relationship issues, grief, loneliness, and mental health concerns. In addition, there is the added pressure of working in an industry where this is one of our busiest times of the year. This can make everything even more overwhelming, so to help you cope during this time, we have put together some tips:

Seek Support
Remember that help is available 24/7 throughout the holiday period. All Racing Staff and LPs can talk to someone about how you’re feeling or what you’re going through at this time. This is a free, independent, and confidential support service available anytime and anywhere. You can call the helpline on 0508 664 981

Managing Finances
This might seem to be impossible at times, and can be especially tough with the added pressures of Christmas. For many of us, rises in the cost of living will have made things even harder.
* You can access financial advice and support through resources like Money Talks and your Citizens Advice Bureau.
* Create a budget to track your expenses and try to stay in control of your spending.
* Be open with others about your financial situation and explore cost-effective alternatives for celebrating the holidays.

Prioritise Your Self-Care
* Be gentle and patient with yourself and prioritise your well-being.
* Set boundaries and learn to say no to activities that may not be helpful for you.
* Take a break from the media and social media, to avoid noise and unhelpful conversations.
* Allow yourself to experience your own feelings, even if they differ from others or what’s going on around you.
* Take breaks and engage in activities that help you relax and distract from the holiday stress.
* Try to prioritise sleep, eat well, and limit alchohol

Planning Ahead
* Identify potential challenges of difficult situations during the Christmas season and try to plan how you can make things easier. Talk things through with family or friends so they know how you are feeling.
* Stick to your routines as much as possible.

Managing Relationships
* Prepare answers to common questions and consider how to gracefully end difficult conversations.
* Stay calm in difficult situations – take a breath before you respond.
* Share your feelings and boundaries with others and avoid situations that make you uncomfortable.
* Remember that you don't have to justify yourself to anyone; prioritise your wellbeing.

Supporting Others
* Friends and family could also be doing it tough over this time. Making sure you are prioritising your own self-care will help you support those around you.
* Be understanding and compassionate towards friends and family who may also find Christmas challenging.
* Encourage open communication and ask how you can support them.
* Avoid making assumptions about their difficulties and respect their boundaries.
* Respect people's choices, even if they choose not to participate in social events.

Remember that Christmas is different for us all. It's essential to prioritise your wellbeing and make choices that best suit your needs during this holiday season. Seek support when needed and remember that you're not alone in facing the challenges of the holiday season.

Where to get help?
* Racing Employee Assistance Programme - Vitae 0508 664 981 (available 24/7)
* NZ National Helpline - Free call or text 1737 anytime ‚Äčto talk with a trained counsellor (available 24/7)
* Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text (available 24/7)
* Youthline – 0800 376 633, or free text 234 (available 24/7)
* Samaritans – 0800 726 666 (available 24/7)
* Healthline 0800 611 116
* Depression helpline – 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
* Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
* Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
* Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655
* Anxiety NZ 0800 269 4389
* Shine (Domestic Abuse) 0508 744 633
* Money Talks 0800 345 123
* Call 111 immediately if you think that you or someone else is at risk of harm

Posted on 22 December 2023

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