The festivities are officially upon us and… holy mackerel – it’s Christmas in literally less than a week. You ready? Tree up, presents to buy – presents wrapped?! – friends to visit, family to see – don’t forget the cards to send – must buy stamps – the lights to put up, the argument over who to have christmas dinner with, or the looming of cooking a giant turkey yourself.
It’s alot isn’t it?
Now throw in everyday normal stuff – work, family, kids, life.
Now throw in your mental health. Do you suffer with anxiety or depression? Is the whole Christmas shebang giving you the willies and making you want to hide under the duvet a little?
Now I’m no Grinch; I’m a self-confessed Christmas lover and I’ve legit been looking forward to the festive season since around July. It’s just… I don’t know. The closer it’s gotten, the more I’ve found myself getting anxious about it. I feel like Christmas can be a bit of a pressure cooker at times, and it can all get too much. Just me?!
It’s different for everyone – whether it’s the anxiety of travelling to see or stay with family, the demands of family – maybe it’s the lack of family or missing someone. Maybe it’s the financial side of things, maybe it’s loneliness or maybe it’s needing time alone. Maybe it’s both. I think I’m all of the above with a sprinkling of feeling pressure to indulge so much in Christmas. Shops, adverts – and everything with a cherry on top – ram Christmas up your nose from August onwards and it can be kinda hard to constantly be bouncing around like a happy loon about it all the time, y’know?!
Now I’m no expert – believe me. I’m forever working on myself in an effort to manage my mental health better, but I’ve compiled a few tips that might be of use all the same;
- I guess first things first – stop comparing yourself to other people. The ‘perfect’ Christmas isn’t a thing! Just because Karen from work has been sporting elf ears since November 1st, doesn’t mean you have to indulge. Just because the radio has blared Wham dry, doesn’t mean you have to listen. Christmas is personal to everyone, and you make of it what you will. You’ll only make yourself feel pants if you compare yourself to other people, and put pressure on yourself to feel or be a certain way when you really don’t want to.
- Limit how much social networking you do. Sounds bonkers, but that whole comparing yourself to other people thing can grow wings and fly for miles when you’re sitting on Instagram for two hours. Besides, you’ll be a little more in the moment and able to take stuff in (like y’know, christmas lights) if you’re not being all envious of Joanne and her 8ft Harry Potter adorned tree. Try turning your blower off for a while and see if you notice the difference.
- Take time out for YOU. It’s such a pressurey time of year isn’t it? Nan’s on at you to visit, the rents are asking if you’re having dinner at theirs or the in-laws, you’ve got friends to see, work drinks to attend. MAKE IT STOP. Remember it’s 100% a-ok to stop at any time, and take time for yourself. Trust your instincts and be ok with listening to & looking after yourself. It’s not a crime, and as much as the dreaded ‘guilt’ that comes with anxiety/depression would have us believe, it’s f*cking fine to be a bit selfish. K?
- This leads on from numero 3, but self-care, self-care, self-care. Don’t stop taking care of yourself! Have your naps, eat in moderation, have your bubble baths, your aloney-on-your-owney time, your meditation, your five minutes. Christmas can be bloody stressful so only do what you can manage – whether that’s money related, people related, whatever.
- Communicate. Despite the urge you might get to go quiet or hide away a while, don’t go silent. If you’re struggling, reach out. You’re not gonna ruin anybody’s Christmas by being honest. Also, try not to let let the anxiety of being around people stop you fully being around them… y’know? Why not trade the big Christmas party for a quiet drink with a friend or two? & if you can’t make something or it’s too much, just say. Nobody will think any less of you.
Are you feeling it a bit at the mo? How do you cope with anxiety/depression at Christmas?
If you’re struggling, please do reach out. Take care of YOU and remember, Christmas is whatever you want it to be. I hope you have a cracking one!
Huge hugs & kisses,