Believe it or not, Christmas is stressful for many people. Ignore the perfect families in seasonal movies or department store TV ads. Real Christmases just aren’t like that. If you’re dreading the big day, remember you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything either. If you don’t fancy that party, or don’t want to host Christmas dinner this year, you don’t have to. Avoid feeling depressed this Christmas by doing something you enjoy. It’s your Christmas too.
Here are just a few of the things that can make this a tough time of year:
- Bereavement or relationship breakdown and loneliness
There’s no doubt that Christmas makes loss even harder to bear. It’s ok to allow yourself to grieve. What’s important is what you do next. Focus on where you’re going, not where you’ve been. If you’re recently divorced, think about how you can make this your time, rather than a copy of Christmas days gone by.
- Alcohol abuse or other addictive behaviours
Focus on the important things you need to stay calm and in control: eat, sleep and exercise. A moderate amount of all three will make you feel better and more able to cope. It’s ok to say no to situations that aren’t helpful to you – like after-work drinks or a party with people who don’t support your goals.
- Anger issues and strained relationships
Sometimes it helps to remember that Christmas is a spiritual time. You don’t have to be a Christian. Midwinter is special to many faiths – and it’s the pagan festival of Yule. Relax and take time out to really talk to your family and friends, evaluate the year ahead, or start afresh with someone you love.
- Stress – especially over money
This can be a particular problem for parents. Remember that what children really want is love, time and attention. They won’t remember what you gave them (think about how much stuff they have and never play with). What they will remember is that you turned your phone off and watched a movie with them, read with them, or played a silly game. Get back to what’s important about Christmas – relationships, not shopping lists.
Sometimes, it can help to share your feelings about being depressed at Christmas with a counsellor. Perhaps you could try one or two sessions of therapy before and after the main event. It can help provide an outlet for negative feelings at Christmas – instead of reacting badly with family and friends.
If you’re worried about how you’ll deal with the festive season, contact us today and arrange to talk to a counselor in Northampton.