It’s been a hot minute since I last babbled hasn’t it?! I’ll not lie, I lost my mojo (again) & have been a first class passenger on the ‘Am I Good Enough?’ Express; y’know when you have so much to say but you’re all blocked up & then self-doubt creeps in & you wonder if you’ll ever write again?! Just me? Okie doke.
Anyway, I wanted to bounce back with something very close to my heart. The festive season is well and truly in our faces, sat on our laps & grabbing hold of our bank accounts, & whilst it’s a time to spread joy, drink Baileys for brekkie & sing Fairytale of New York (badly), it can be a difficult period for a lot of folks; myself included.
Every year, around my birthday (the end of November), I just feel sad. The latter half of the year has been a struggle for a few years now – without being too open (it’s a bit raw, soz) it’s a case of loved ones not being in my life. Loved ones who really used to make the festive period for me. I have the most beautiful memories & all these ties and my brain can never compute that they’re not in my life anymore. In fact, I recently spoke to a bunch of you on Twitter about ‘mourning the loss of someone who’s still alive’ & the response I got was genuinely overwhelming – I’m so relieved to know it’s not a totally alien thing to feel. It’s hard all the year round but especially this season, with this heightened ideal of being surrounded by family & friends etc.
Honestly, it’s just a bit shit.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m so lucky. I really am surrounded by beautiful people & I will forever be grateful for them. I just can’t help feeling a bit sad. I feel like I have to fight it off every year & I end up wishing Christmas away because the load feels so freaking heavy. & yet, here’s the thing – that’s how it is for so many people. Sadness, doesn’t stop at Christmas. Mental health, doesn’t stop at Christmas. Feuds don’t end, people don’t always make up, difficulties don’t ease, financial difficulties remain the same or get worse, & loneliness is a very real reality of the season.
I’m not tryna be a Grinch, I swear. Really I think I just wanted to step forward and say ‘me too’ if you’re feeling it a bit at the mo. Maybe you’re in the same boat as me – someone may be missing from your life for one reason or another; it makes my heart heavy & I feel I have to force myself sometimes to feel ‘festive’ – all I can advise here is to take it easy on yourself. Don’t force anything, don’t overexert yourself, talk to people & be open if you’re able to – I’ll always have an ear for you here, I’ll get it. Distract yourself & keep busy best you can – from experience, it all seems a lot worse if I’m sat thinking for too long. It might even help to write a letter – you don’t have to send it! – but getting feelings on paper could be incredibly good for lightening the load.
You might feel pressure to socialise or be around people who you’d otherwise avoid the year round, because they make you feel pants or they’re toxic. Reeeally question if you need to put yourself through that. Some folk I get we’re obliged to see, so in that case maybe make it a short visit, or try to remind yourself once you’ve seen them, it’s job done. & breathe. Whilst we’re on the subject of pressure, don’t let the p word make you feel you have to spend bucket loads to please people – honestly some of the best gifts can be the ones with the most thought, not the most money spent. That said, more and more, people just appreciate time. My Grandad said to me that it’ll be enough just to have a drink & watch a film with me. All I’m saying is, don’t feel you have to go overboard – it’s not worth financially struggling or putting yourself into debt.
As I said before, mental health doesn’t stop at Christmas. As someone who lives with anxiety as well as depression, you can bet your ass this time of year sets me on edge. The pressures of spending money, the intensified feelings of loneliness & the expectation to feel jolly can be hard. It becomes more vital than ever to maintain barriers & self-care, and be firm about your limits. Christmas can throw our carefully tailored routines out of whack – we’ll eat richer food, lose sleeping patterns, spend more than we can afford & feel drained. Please, look after you. Eat in moderation, try to maintain some form of healthy routine, and don’t be afraid to slip away & please yourself a while. You don’t have to sit and play Monopoly with a bunch of folk if you’d feel more comfortable reading alone quietly. You don’t have to attend that work do if the idea of it makes you panic. Make this period one where you make you happy.
I hope you’ve been able to connect with me on this post somehow – I feel as though I’ve been a bit of a Scrooge, but I promise that was never my intention. I do actually like Christmas! You’ll find me this Christmas Day snuggled in fleecey PJs watching It’s a Wonderful Life with my lovely other half, who has promised to stay awake the whole film (we’ll see!). I’m gonna do it my way, & I hope you feel you can do the same. I’m with you. We’ve got this. & hey, if you need a friend, please reach out.
Do you struggle with this time of year? Pop me a comment or two below, it might help to voice it – & you’ll definitely find you’re not alone.
Sending you oodles of love, always.