Wednesday, 27 December 2017

So that was Christmas

And what have you done ? To misquote John Lennon. I only ask because not everyone is all singing and all dancing about Christmas.

It's taken me most of my life to work out how to do Christmas in a way that doesn't make me stressed or upset. Mostly it involves a lot of organisation. It's also about getting myself prepared mentally. Ok, so the present buying and food shopping is pretty arduous, but it's still a fortunate situation to find yourself in. To have the means, the reason and the people to buy for can be wonderful. It can create a mass of expectation though. The need to buy the perfect gifts, to cook the perfect meal, to have the perfect family get together. All the while being aware that this is a privileged position to be in.

The pursuit of perfection is my worst enemy. The desire to do everything just right causes the most anxiety of all. It's why so many people get into debt to fund Christmas. This need to make it special. I didn't even grow up with the traditional notion of Christmas in my family. We weren't encouraged to believe in Father Christmas so that wasn't a thing and apart from having crackers with our meal it was no different to any day that we all ate together. We did have gifts, but it was not the huge deal that I became aware of later on. When people talked about how special Christmas was I just didn't get it at all.

At uni I met a tutor who told me that she and her husband would go on holiday every Christmas to avoid all celebrations. They would lie on the beach and ignore everything to do with the season. That idea appealed to me. Choosing to step away from the whole idea in favour of something relaxing instead. Yes please. Then the guilt kicks in. What will parents think ? Isn't that a bit selfish ?

It's this awareness of unrealistic expectations that means I start to prepare a long time in advance. Getting myself fit and mentally well has been hugely important. In the past I have negelected my wellbeing and it's led to a miserable time. Now I know that I have to manage myself. Whether that is taking some time for myself or sharing the load with others. No one else can know what I'm struggling with if I'm not open about it. Fortunately Hubbie knows me better than I know myself sometimes.

It's not an easy time of year for a lot of people. It's ok if you're not feeling festive. If you do and you need some help these links might be of some help:

www.mind.org. uk

www.samaritans.org.uk



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