Five helpful tips if you find Christmas difficult.
Remember it’s just another day
Christmas can be wonderful but it can be a real struggle for lots of people. I know how it feels to have days where you don’t really feel like going out or being with other people, and Christmas is just like every other day. While everyone may be getting excited in the lead-up, remember to keep it in perspective. Christmas is another day of the year and you might not know how you’re going to feel. And that’s okay.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year for many people. I’ve found that sometimes the warmest, biggest and friendliest communities can feel like the most isolating. I remember going to a party once where I felt so out of place and uncomfortable that I had to leave after half an hour. I put myself in an uncomfortable position because I didn’t want to let anyone down or for them to think that something was wrong. Looking back, I realise I shouldn’t have done that. It was a special day for my friend but as much as I tried, it was difficult to make myself feel comfortable and happy in that environment. Keep the day in perspective for yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself because you don’t feel how others do.
Remember Christmas looks different for everyone
There’s a lot of pressure at this time of year to feel ‘happy’ because everyone else is. Christmas looks different for everyone and you should spend it in a way that makes you feel as relaxed as possible. That might be spending time with your friends and family, or it might be going for a walk, or watching your favourite film or reading a book. It could be anything that you enjoy doing on a daily basis, but it should be down to you and where you feel most comfortable rather than feeling forced into situations.
Do Christmas how you want to
Take time for yourself to do what you like. You could organise something else for the day, like volunteer work or helping at a local event. First and foremost, you need to look after yourself, and you need to do that every day of the year. Have a think about some alternative things you could do this Christmas to make the day more enjoyable for yourself.
Take things at your own pace
Sometimes it’s good to make a few small New Year resolutions so that you can work on them one by one and take small steps towards overcoming some difficulties that you might be facing. I’ve found that taking small steps is a lot more effective and can add up to big results. It’s important not to push yourself too far so that it becomes unhealthy or too much for you. Take things at your own pace, setting out a few small goals for the year ahead and working towards them at your own pace. And remember to acknowledge all of the things that you are able to tick off!
Have a whatever Christmas you want xx
If you have a friend who is struggling, just be mindful of them and give them space to feel how they feel. Encourage them to take care of themselves, and to not put pressure on themselves to have to feel cheery because it's Christmas. Everyone's feelings are valid and it's important to support one another, particularly at a time people might feel the pressure to have to act in a certain way. Just do what you would on any other day, listen, be there.
This blog was originally written for and posted on the YoungMinds website (https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/five-helpful-reminders-if-you-find-christmas-difficult/)