In the lead up to Christmas images of happy, smiling faces bombard us as companies try to get us to buy into a picture of Christmas that they have conjured up. We are shown happy families surrounded by mountains of gifts in advertisements from retailers which show groups of laughing friends and cheerful colleagues to encourage us to eat and drink to be merry.
With images like these shown all around us we are encouraged to believe that this light-hearted, people-filled period is what is normal at this time of year, and that everyone should be feeling merry and bright throughout December and into January and the New Year.
But what if this is not your experience of Christmas? What if you are feeling under the weather since the clocks turned back and the amount of day light reduces to a minimum in the lead up to the Winter solstice and the longest night of the year? What if you’re worried about money and are finding it difficult to finance gifts, parties and food for the season? What if you are struggling to cope with Christmas?
We don’t have a magic wand that can make your Christmas merry and bright, but we can give you some ideas that might help make it a little less stressful.
Take time to consider what kind of festive season you really want. Knowing what we wish for can help us put in place plans to help us create the sort of Christmas we really want, so we aren’t confused by the pictures of other people’s ideas about Christmas which bombard us.
Be gentle with yourself. Many times, we are our own worst enemy by expecting perfection and putting ourselves under pressure when nobody else expects us to be doing anything unreasonable. Try to think about Christmas realistically and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t turn out the way you thought they “should do”. You will do your best. Don’t let your inner critic get you down. Speak kindly to yourself!
Connect with someone. If you can reach out to friend or family for support. If that’s not possible or appropriate then call to talk to someone on one of the helplines listed below.
This is a great time of year to use your time or money to support others. Research shows that people feel better when they have helped someone else. Help put a smile on someone else’s face by giving your time and energy to support them at Christmas.
Look after yourself. Set time aside every day to nourish yourself. This could be as simple as going for a walk, eating some fruit or making sure you set yourself up for a good night’s sleep with a bedtime routine.
Set yourself a little challenge to learn something or do something new this festive season. It can feel good to stretch yourself and could be something like learning Sudoku, taking a break from social media or watching a TED talk. What ideas can you come up with?