Christmas can be challenging for many people but this year especially it will be difficult for most of us one way or another. We may have to make do with phone and video calls to stay in touch with people who we would normally be with. We may be posting presents rather than giving them in person this year. Christmas parties and celebrations might be altered or abandoned last minute as guidelines and advice shifts daily. It’s a confusing and unsettling time and will be lonely and sad for many including those who are isolating, in an unhappy relationship, are bereaved, or depressed. These feelings have been prevalent since March 2020 in the UK but they can be exacerbated at celebration times.
Things We Can Do To Survive Christmas
We can start by allowing ourselves time to work out how we feel. This is always the first step to change. This may take some time, especially for those of us who find getting in touch with our feelings difficult, but once we are aware of how we feel we can do something about it.
If plans need to change or difficult choices need to be made about who to spend time with it’s best to let people know as soon as possible. Talk things over and decide what you can manage to do, how you can do it, and where you can do it.
2. Prioritise Your Relationship.
If you are in a relationship give yourself time together away from the hectic run-up to Christmas. Boycott all Christmas talk and catch up with how you both are. Get a takeaway or vat of popcorn and snuggle under the blanket on the sofa in front of a movie.
3. Pamper Yourself.
Take some well-deserved time out for yourself. We need to be ok with ourselves before we are able to give to others. Give yourself a chance to recharge your batteries. Find an online yoga class, meditate, or just unwind in a hot bath with plenty of bubbles, candles, and a glass of mulled wine.
4. Get Enough Sleep.
Neuroscience proves that sleep is the body’s way of repairing itself. Whilst asleep our brain restructures its connections making sense of the previous day’s information and storing it to memory. Go to bed at your usual time as often as possible. You will need all the rest you can get so that you can get everything done and still have energy left to enjoy yourself.
5. Give Something Back.
Research shows that depression can be relieved by giving something back. Whilst this is more challenging in the pandemic it’s still possible to check on an elderly neighbor, give more to charity or encourage children to choose a current toy they could give away to a charity shop to make some room for this year’s presents.
6. Old Fashioned Fun.
Take the opportunity to switch off the technology for a few hours. Spend some quality time together, play board games, cards, go for a walk.
7. Try Something Different.
As this year is going to be challenging again why not break the usual routines? Get rid of the need for washing up and book your Christmas dinner out or ring the changes and order a spicy Thai takeaway.
8. Reflect And Resolve.
Reflect on 2021. What has gone well and not so well for you? Think about what you might do differently in 2022. What steps can you take to improve your health, lifestyle, and happiness?
The objective is to feel ok with who we are and what we do over the festive period. Our time off is precious and we need to be true to ourselves this holiday, striking the right balance between celebrating and also making time to unwind and recharge at this difficult time.