7 helpful tips to survive the Christmas season
Many people feel pressured into believing there is a particular way to feel at Christmas. We get sucked in by the media hype and believe that Christmas should be spent in a particular way. However, if you’re far away from loved ones, someone you love has died, or you’re battling physical or psychological illness, Christmas can be really tough to deal with.
Instinctively, when people are sad or lonely, we want to isolate ourselves, and our emotions can get the better of us.
It’s really important to be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. There are ways to counter and manage your feelings so that they don’t become overwhelming, so that you can have a pleasant Christmas. Here are some tips you may find helpful so you can get through the Christmas break.
Tip 1: Be very clear with yourself about what you are feeling and what you need. To help you do this, writing about it in journal can give structure and clarity to your thoughts, feelings and your needs.
Tip 2: Find people you trust and tell them what you are feeling and what you need. After you have clarified what you’re feeling and want, share it with those you trust. When asked, people are usually happy to help but you do need to ask. People can’t read your mind and know what you need. It may be something like ‘I need a hug’, ‘I need to get out of the house’ or ‘I’d really like to go to the beach, can you come with me?’
Tip 3: Get out and about. Being around other people can be a helpful antidote to feeling sad or lonely. You can have coffee with a friend, attend Carols by Candlelight in your area, church services, see which local houses are lit up with Christmas lights.
Tip 4: Avoid social media. It’s so easy to sit in front of your computer, scroll through Facebook and think everyone else but me is having a great day. Comparisons are never helpful, and Christmas is not the time to start making assumptions about other people’s happiness and comparing them to your own. You never know what lies beneath the illusion of a ‘perfect’ picture.
Tip 5: Get real. You may have for years and years wanted to receive some acknowledgement or praise from either family or friends who have never done so before. You’ve worked hard preparing a beautiful feast only to have negative comments made about something they can pick at and you’re left devastated. There are couple of ways to deal with this, don’t take it personally, it’s not about you, it’s them, or, spend time with people who will truly appreciate your efforts.
Tip 6: Look after yourself: Eating well, avoiding alcohol, managing your energy levels and exercising are important aspects to looking after your body. This is the time of year for treats so enjoy them! However know your limits and stick to them. This will help create a general sense of wellbeing, with your body and mind thanking you for it.
Tip 7: Seek professional help: If you’re finding it really hard, feeling overwhelmed or not able to think straight, making an appointment to see a counsellor can be extremely helpful. Having someone to talk to can be very therapeutic so book an appointment sooner rather than later to get the help you need.
It’s absolutely natural to feel sadness and loneliness, and that’s ok. However, do make sure that you have ways to manage those feelings so that they don’t overwhelm you, and you can have moments of joy and peace this Christmas.
By Rita Barnett, Newcastle Counselling Service