Are you feeling okay during this holiday season?

Posted 4 months ago by David McManus
We don’t have to wait until September to ask someone in our lives if they’re okay. [Source: R U OK? Ltd.]
We don’t have to wait until September to ask someone in our lives if they’re okay. [Source: R U OK? Ltd.]

Here’s your guide to staying mentally well over the holiday break.

Content warning: this article contains references to suicide and mental health crises. Please refer to the bottom of this article for support services available to you in moments of need.

Key points:

  • R U OK? Day is held on the second Thursday of September each year
  • From 2022 – June of 2023, the living costs of employees rose by 9.6 percent


Some people consider the holiday season to be a time for celebrating and wrapping up the year, but others consider it to be a stressful time filled with financial and emotional pressure.

R U OK? has provided a range of free tips and practical tools to help everyone through the difficult annual period, which is estimated to cause as many as 89 percent of Australians to report difficulty in paying at least one essential bill during this time.

Katherine Newton, chief executive officer of R U OK?, said that it was important to consider the people in our own lives who might be finding it tough to get through this December.

“Find a moment to check in with that person and do it in a way that feels right for both of you,” Ms Newton said.

“Weave it into your normal routines and regular way of communicating. There’s no need to overcomplicate it.”

Community Ambassador Glenn Cotter, like many Australians, is concerned about the additional expenses and family tension that comes with Christmas.

“We’ve had some stressful Christmases over the years,” Mr Cotter said.

“It can bring family and relationship challenges to a head and it’s a time of heightened emotions. I know we’re not alone in that experience.”

The new campaign, ‘Tis the Season to be asking R U OK?, is a reminder that a conversation could conceivably save a life over the Christmas period.

Mr Cotter said we need to take the pressure off ourselves and remember that genuine connection is a special gift for those we care about.

“If you notice that someone is finding the holiday season stressful, my biggest tip is to encourage them to do Christmas in a way that works for them,” he said.

“Don’t do it the way you think it has to be done to please everyone else. 

“Ditch the expensive gifts and write each other a poem or card — whatever makes them feel connected,” Mr Cotter added.

“Most importantly, ask how you can contribute or help. Sharing the load makes everyone feel supported.”

Carli Cox, from the New South Wales border town of Albury, said this time of year is tough for her as December 23 is the anniversary of the 2014 suicide of her 21-year-old son Mitchell.


“Every year, as the date approaches, a deep sense of sadness descends upon my family,” Ms Cox said.


“The holiday season, with all its festivities and celebrations, becomes a minefield of emotions, as we attempt to navigate our way through. The lead-up to these occasions can be just as challenging as the days themselves.”


Ms Cox explained that for those who have experienced loss, it can help to acknowledge that it might be a difficult time and not shy away from talking about it.


“For anyone experiencing grief, what has helped me is being transparent,” she said.


“The weight of loss can make you feel like you’re the only one who understands your pain, but this is far from the truth. 

“Share your memories, your heartache and your struggles with your close circle of friends or family,” Ms Cox said.

“They want to help and support you and allowing them in can be a source of strength.”


While none of us are immune to life’s ups and downs, R U OK? research found that taking the time to ask someone if they are okay with genuine interest and concern, can help those who might be struggling to feel heard, supported, and better about managing their situation.


For tips and resources to help you connect with the people around you, please visit and check out the guide to communication about suicide.


For support at any time of day or night, Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis support. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online at:


Mensline offers free 24/7 support by telephone and online for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. Call 1300 78 99 78 or chat online at:


13YARN is a free 24/7 service offering crisis support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Call 13YARN.


How do you manage to get through the holiday period? Are you looking forward to a break or are you dreading the stress? Let the team from Talking Disability know your best methods to cope during the silly season.

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What to say when someone expresses thoughts of suicide

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