The festive season – for some - represents time off from work and time to spend with family and friends, but for others this season is overwhelming. Christmas can inspire so many different emotions: from excitement to crushing sadness, and everything in between.. Christmas can be full of happiness, or riddled with painful memories and family tension. For many of us, it's a combination of all these things.
There is lots of articles out there about how to cope during this season so most people will be able to find something that they relate to. From my reading of quite a few of the articles, here are some simple things that you can do:
1. Delegate – don’t try to do all the work yourself, many hands make light work;
2. Manage expectations – it is just one day, there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, just enjoy the moment;
3. Accept what will be, will be;
4. Get enough sleep – things seem so much more manageable when you are not so tired;
5. Understand the triggers and try to avoid them;
6. Be mindful, be there in the moment, don’t worry about what has happened in the past or what could happen in the future, you really can’t do anything about them;
7. Ask for help if you need it.
Often all the emotions that we cope with during the rest of the year are harder to bear at Christmas time. We can find ourselves with feelings of anxiety and depression and maybe having no social support or “happy family” to go to. However, know that you are not alone and many others are struggling too.
If you are alone, try volunteering to help at an event, many organizations hold events for those who find themselves alone or struggling at Christmas and are very grateful for people volunteering their time. It also ensures that you will be surrounded by others in a cheerful event. Do not feel guilty or pressured if this would be too stressful for you, and consider attending as a guest rather than a volunteer.
One really fantastic piece of advice that I found, from “Richmond Wellbeing, WA” which is part of a network of Richmond Fellowship organisations throughout the world:
“What would you be doing on any given Tuesday? There are 52 of them in the year. This one will pass as they all do and you can put as much or as little emphasis and meaning on to it as you feel OK with. Another approach is to do something completely un-Christmas like, an activity from completely left field which takes the spotlight away from the traditions and ceremony that can be so stressful.”
Have A Happy Holiday, Not A Hectic Christmas.