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Give the Gift of Conversations and Embrace the Tranquility of Christmas

Take Time Out This Christmas

During this festive season, amidst the hustle of shopping, wrapping gifts, and holiday gatherings, time seems to slip away. Even online shopping at home offers little respite from overwhelming to-do lists. But it doesn't have to be this way. Burnout and constant busyness shouldn't be badges of honour. When was the last time you allowed yourself to do nothing? Why do we feel compelled to be constantly busy?

Brene Brown reminds us that ‘saying yes to play takes courage in a culture that glorifies exhaustion’.

Healing Through Nature

Nature holds immense healing power. Slow down to notice smells, sounds, and feelings. Embrace being "unbusy" (Lettie Stratton). Fresh air and nature are hugely underestimated for its health benefits, but fresh air is so good for our mental and physical health. Try and get out in the fresh air, even if it's 10 minutes for a quick walk, it really will give you a pick me up. It not only improves your mood, but it also reduces anxiety and stress. As well as providing a boost for your immune system. These are just a few ways walking outdoors can make you feel better.

Happiness is not in another place, but in this place right here, right now… Not in another hour in this hour, (Walt Whitman). We live in a truly beautiful world with some amazing people, just take the time to spend time with them having a conversation.

Creating Meaningful Connections

This Christmas and all year let’s normalise real, honest conversations, then listen genuinely to what people say. There are so many things you can do to bring some happiness and joy to your life. Like having that cuppa with someone you care about and having open, honest conversations about how you're feeling. Why not schedule some time when you finally make time for a much-needed catchup with a friend, family member, or work colleague? Life isn't perfect but it's made better with social connections.

One of the greatest illusions is that life should be perfect, (Charley Macksey).

The Value of Social Connections

Mental health affects one in four, yet discussing it remains taboo. Small conversations can end stigma. Social bonds are vital, providing comfort and support in mental health challenges. Here are a few ways to ensure optimal cognitive and physical health through:

  1. A plant-rich diet
  2. Regular exercise
  3. 8 hours of sleep
  4. Stress reduction
  5. Social connections

Be open to social connections. When individuals cultivate meaningful social bonds, they create a network of support that acts as a vital resource in times of mental health challenges. These connections not only provide a comforting presence but also foster an environment where open conversations about mental health can thrive.

Giving The Gift of A Conversation

A small conversation can be a catalyst for significant change. Each dialogue initiated about mental health contributes to the dismantling of misconceptions and stereotypes. When we engage in open and honest discussions, we create a ripple effect that normalises the conversation around mental health, making it more acceptable for everyone. Let's foster an environment where compassion, understanding, and empathy prevail, allowing us to collectively combat the isolation that many individuals with mental health challenges often feel.

The Invaluable Impact of Social Connections On Mental Health

Social interaction stimulates and challenges the brain in ways that solitary activities cannot. It draws on multiple skills, such as visual-spatial processing of faces and gestures, inferring others’ motivations, decision making about how to behave within social norms, etc. Individuals with broader and more complex social networks seem to have larger or more developed amygdala and related brain structures (Bickart, Wright, Dautoff, Dickerson, & Barrett, 2011).

The amygdala and related structures are deep brain areas crucial for regulating emotions and facilitating memory storage. This and similar studies suggest a strong association between social interaction and brain health in these crucial areas. Maintaining or expanding your social network can, therefore, help ensure overall brain and cognitive health.

Awareness is key

Mental health awareness course, like the NEBOSH Working with Wellbeing course, equips you with the knowledge to give the best possible gift of all your time and attention.

Stop waiting for Christmas, Valentine's, Easter, and the summer. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting and become present in the here and now, and that is the greatest gift you can give yourself.


As you may already know learning something new is so good for the mind and cognitive functioning. It improves communication, self-esteem, and problem-solving skills and broadens the person's knowledge and critical thinking. The benefits are huge and many studies have concluded how important it is for changing brain chemistry.

Learning helps keep those cells active within your brain and new neurological pathways are formed, it's through these neural impulses to travel along them. This helps stop the destruction of myelin in (nerve tissue). Which is vital insulating material within the brain. If the myelin becomes damaged or gets worn away, this can mean that nerves can also be damaged. Which increases the chances of developing dementia amongst other things. However reduction or damage to myelin not only causes issues in the brain but the body. There's vast amounts of data and research pointing to the fact learning something new each day is good for us.

Where do you start?

At Ligtas we have a vast course catalogue full of accredited and non-accredited training, both online and in the classroom. Some courses can be completed in as little as a few hours, like our mental health awareness course. While others take an average of 6 months like our most popular course NEBOSH National General Certificate.

Course Overview- Mental Health Awareness

In this day and age, mental health is widely recognised as a key area for individuals in both their work and their home lives. Along with the stigma around opening up about mental health an awareness of mental health issues can be unknown to many.

The Mental Health Awareness Course covers the main types of mental ill health along with typical symptoms, relief, and coping strategies. Bookings can be made online or via the phone at 02922 800 000 or enquiries@ligtas.co.uk

All that's left to be said is if you are feeling anxious, worried, or stressed please talk about how you are feeling. Or if you'd rather talk in confidence to someone you don't know the Samaritans are there 24hrs a day 365 days a year by calling 116, 123 (free from any phone).

Remember staying positive doesn’t mean that you have to be in a constant state of happiness. It just means that even on the hard days you know better days are coming. Be grateful for the small things, the big things and everything in between.

Everyone at Ligtas would like to wish you a joyous Christmas filled with love, laughter, and cherished moments with those dear to your heart.

Where do you want to go today?