I'm a massive fan of Christmas and I'm regularly known to irritate my loved ones with my festive cheer. However, I'm all too aware of how much Christmas is thrust upon us, even I can't stomach the Christmas adverts that come on in November. For those of us facing our own issues how do we have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? In a society that encourages self care, what can we do to get through the holiday period?
Keeping family events civil
We all know we can't choose our own families, so meeting up at different family events can be difficult. Particularly if there is a certain family member we have a trying relationship with. The key is here is to keep calm. We're never going to see eye to eye with everyone, and that's ok, but we need to learn to recognise that we're not necessarily always in the right. Don't get me wrong, one of the most infuriating things for me is injustice and for someone to think I'm in the wrong when I'm quite clearly not. However, we're all living our own truths and have completely different view points on any one situation. Instead of wasting energy getting irate, try to learn to accept how the other person feels and recognise that you can't change that. We all need to compromise, for the sake of everyone's sanity!. If you do need to have a frank discussion with a family member, keep it calm and plan what you want to say to this person. Also, be prepared to listen to what they have to say. A conversation should be a two way street and you should give the other persons views validity. You may even realise you agree with them!
It's ok not to be ok
Happiness at this time of year is forced on us. We're supposed to be merry, bright and jolly and having loads of festive fun. But what if we're unhappy? Now, if you're suffering from depression or such, it is not in my remit to tell you how to cope with this. However, I can say that it's ok not to be ok. We still seem to live in a culture which encourages us to try and be happy at all times. That if we're sad then there is something very wrong and we must immediately do something to cheer ourselves up. I really hope I'm not the only one who is just sad sometimes. I call them my Blue days. I don't know why I feel sad and low on energy but I just do. And, it's ok to feel that way for a little while. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself to something nice and indulge a little but you don't need to be striving to be happy all the time. This stands at Christmas to. It's ok not to be in the festive spirit and to maybe hide away a little until it all dies down. Just remember to be respectful of those who are in the Christmas mood, just as they should respect you for not being in it. And, please, if you are suffering from more long term sadness or depression - do seek the right help for this and stay safe.
You can say no
If all else fails, remember, it's ok to be a little selfish. There is absolutely no point in working yourself to a near exhaustion trying to please everyone around you. Christmas can be a busy time and you may find you have far more social events on than usual. It's ok to explain to friends and family that you may need to prioritise and miss certain things. You're of much more use to others when you're healthy and happy instead of stressed and tired. Similarly, Christmas can also be the most expensive time of year. Again, there is absolutely no point in running yourself into debt and money worries trying to please others, no matter how good your intentions are. Taking the time to explain to your loved ones that you want to do a Secret Santa type of arrangement, or no presents at all this year. They love you and they will understand. You may event want to skip the whole thing entirely, and that's ok too. Just remember to communicate this calmly to your family and friends. Perhaps find out what's most important to them and try to involve yourself in those elements.
Remember that there is no right way to celebrate Christmas. The most important thing is health and happiness. However you choose to spend the day, I wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.