It might be the most wonderful time of the year for some people, but for many others the Christmas holiday can be very stressful. Whether we dread it or love it, Christmas is here.
What makes Christmas an ordeal are those invisible threads of memory and grief that bubble up to the surface at this time every year. Death can make its presence felt. Who’s not at the table often hits home more than who’s present.
Whatever the reasons behind your worries, Christmas stress, Christmas anxiety and Christmas depression are all very real issues faced by many each year. Therefore, it’s important to acknowledge how challenging a time it can be.
Some people try hard to get into the spirit of Christmas because they see that’s what’s expected of them. They hide any ‘negative’ feelings, grit their teeth, and brace themselves. Because no one is allowed to say, ‘I hate this.’
Even those of us who love Christmas can also find it stressful. We pour ourselves into preparing our homes. Cupboards are packed with food, presents are parcelled and cards are sent out at the last minute. Worries about what it’s all costing are pushed to the back of the mind, knowing full well that these same worries will be back in force when all the jingle music stops.
Mindfulness can be the perfect sanity clause to get you through the Christmas season without feeling overwhelmed. We stop, we take time to breathe, and slowly re-connect with our bodies. It is not only a powerful coping mechanism, allowing us to take a step back and feel less pushed around by our thoughts and feelings, but it also serves as the foundation for self-care. This very act of pausing restores balance to how we look at things.
Tips for coping during Christmas
- Be gentle, generous and patient with yourself.
- Plan ahead.
- Manage relationships.
- Look after yourself.
- Talking to other people.
- Get support.