Christmas, the time of year for merriment and cheer, but that’s not the case for everyone. This season can present itself as a burden, both financially, physically and mentally. We are spending a lot (or feel the need to), we are focusing a lot on other people, we are trying to get every bit of work done before the holidays, we are becoming run down and our self care goes out of the window, bottom on our list of priorities. There’s Nativities to attend, gifts to buy, food to prepare and on top of all that we are still going to work and living our normal lives.
Now, I’m no Scrooge, Christmas is fantastic. I love the lights, the decorations, the cosiness and of course, the food! But I cannot deny that my anxiety has been gradually increasing over the recent weeks. Making sure that is being heard during work, when I’m teaching, when I’m out having fun with friends and amongst all the festive cheer as well.
I’ve had worries about what food to buy, how much to buy and whether or not I’ve missed anything off the list. I’ve had concerns about money, if I’m spending enough or too much and there’s an ongoing worry surrounding food and consumption. With all this anxiety, I’ve found it creeping into every aspect of my life, I’ve gone back to doubting my abilities and questioning everything.
It’s the end of the year, everything around us is winding down, things become slow. Everything that is, apart from our minds.
So how do we regain a worry free, anxiety free Christmas? I’ve been pondering this question for a while. It comes down to carving out the necessary time for ourselves and I get it, you have children, or pets, or partners that need your time too. But giving yourself that space (even if only for half an hour each day) to take a breath, to relax and remind yourself what’s important and no, it’s not the turkey or the booze. Nor is it the gifts or the mince pies. It’s you that matters, it’s the love you share with your family or friends and it’s everything in between, the ups the downs, the happiness and sadness. Accepting it and moving with it.
Maybe you could afford to take some time off work and revel in the festivities during the build up to Christmas and doing it without feeling guilty!
Give yourself reminders that it’s okay if some food is forgotten or a gift is missed.
It’s okay if you don’t want to go to a certain family members house or join in with crazy family traditions.
It’s okay to do whatever feels comfortable for you! You don’t owe anyone anything.
Family time can be hard, food can be tricky to navigate and anxiety can rear its head. But there’s on 24 hours in any given day, so if it all really gets too much to cope with, remind yourself that you have survived every single one of your bad days up to this very moment and you can do it again. Christmas is just another day, so take 5 minutes, adjust the day to what feels right.
Take care of yourself and have a merry Christmas, or just, a Christmas.