What if this isn’t the happiest time of the year?
Christmas is supposed to be filled with joy, love and family, right? But what if it isn’t? How do you get through if you don’t have these things?
For many people, Christmas is far from what we see in movies and read in books. There isn’t a huge Christmas tree in a beautifully decorated house with mountains of presents waiting to be opened. There is no home cooked Christmas lunch shared with family that have all come together for the first time in years.
The truth is, Christmas isn’t a one-size-fits-all occasion. With many varying circumstances amongst family and friends, each Christmas will be unique and special in its own way. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same every year and we shouldn’t feel down, or like we failed if everything isn’t perfect.
Many experience a stressful, lonely, or sad Christmas. Maybe they have lost loved ones, or are in hospital, or have friends or family who are. Maybe they have nothing to eat or have no where to live. Maybe mental health is holding them back from experience the emotions they so desperately want and think they should feel.
If you’re struggling this Christmas, here are a few things you could try to help bring calm and happiness into your life.
1. Have realistic expectations for yourself, and others
Know your limits and don’t put pressure on yourself or others to do more than you can achieve, afford, or give.
2. Let others share the responsibilities
Just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should do it all. It’s ok to ask for help or assign tasks to others. It also gives them the opportunity to feel the Spirit of Christmas through service.
3. Be in the moment
Leave the worries of the future, for the future, and the regrets and sorrows of the past in the past. Enjoy what, and who, you have with you right now.
4. Take time out
Before your stress boils over, have a break. Lunch can wait five minutes while you take a short walk, take some deep breaths, and take time to calm yourself.
5. Use your emotional intelligence
If you are aware of certain people, or activities, that get on your nerves, it is your responsibility to control your reactions. If you feel yourself getting close to your limit, step into a quiet room to re-centre and re-focus before re-engaging.
6. Ask for help
If you’re in a situation that is causing you anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness, or despair that is overwhelming, please ask for help. If a friend of family member isn’t available, there are helplines you can call and community centres you can reach out to. A good place to start, if you’re in Australia, is Lifeline.
At In Mind Therapy we care about you and hope that you are able to find peace during the Christmas season.