It's the time of year when almost everyone is expecting goodwill and cheer, I say almost everyone as there are many people who just dread the whole festive period. Whether that's due to finances and not being able to afford your next meal never mind decorations and gifts or religions beliefs that do not include celebrating Christmas. Yet you and possibly your children are constantly bombarded with messages of the traditional Christmas story or of the "other guy" you know the big jolly guy with the sledge and reindeers.
It could be that as a child Christmas meant more alcohol/drugs were around and your house was not a great place to be, or all the other kids were having a ball and you felt like you were missing out as your house didn't celebrate, or possibly "that uncle" came to stay, for whatever reason Christmas is just the worst time of the year for some yet there is this perception that if we don't play along we are the humbug, the party pooper who doesn't know how to have a good time.
It could be that everyone around you has a great time. Of course they do because you've been planning and saving all year to make sure its "one to remember" yet with each stage of the plans you feel yourself becoming more and more unwell but you keep going because your "unwell" is invisible and you can hide behind the door or under the covers and no one will see what the whole festive period means to you.
Christmas comes with a powerful sensory of dread for many, its cold, its dark, and the expectation to have a great time is high and if you live with detonating Mental Health as it is, it can be increasingly difficult to get through this few weeks.
At the recent "Mental Health and all the trimmings" event in the Hilton Templepatrick hosted by JoinHer I delivered a practical workshop demonstrating some handy tools to have when things get a little overwhelming and sharing my survival tips to have the best festive period that you can and let others do the same.
Here are my top 3 tips to survive the last few weeks of December in one piece.
1. Talk - Tell people how you are feeling, be honest and true to you and others. Talking about your feelings helps to let you feel lighter and supports a clearer though process.
2. Avoid drama - Whether that's over excited children, squabbling adults or demanding family members, create an escape plan, take the dog for a walk, go to a friend for coffee or arrange a code with one of the family members to let them know you are struggling.
3. Be motivated - by thinking about the space you would like to be within, commit to identifying the kind of festive period you would like to have, not the one you dread, the most powerful nation in the world is the imagination, use it to create your own internal safe space.
Whatever you are getting up to over the festive period I hope its a good one, and for all the lucky people who received Hydro-Ease vouchers for Christmas we look forward to welcoming you in the New Year.