• Andrea Armstrong

Not Looking Forward To Chrismas? You're Not Alone

When I was a child, Christmas time meant celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ and I would relish in taking part in the Nativity Plays and attending church on Christmas Eve. I remember believing in Father Christmas, therefore making a point of being on my bestest behaviour throughout the December weeks!

However, the older I became the more disillusioned I felt with the whole concept of the festive season. To me, each year Christmas becomes more and more commercialised, with people driving themselves insane with consuming, purchasing and making thier homes aesthetically befitting to the time of year. The moment Halloween is over, we are bombarded with commercials ramming Christmas down our throats and I personally find it highly depressing. Don't get me wrong, I love the connecting aspect of the season and being fortunate enough to be blessed with a large Jamaican family, its always lovely to get together, eat amazing food and having a good catch up with my loved ones, Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone....

Christmas time. A time when all the world conspires to tell you it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Even when merriment is all around us, even when we’re smiling and clinking glasses – for a lot of people – Christmas is a struggle. Christmas is lonely and to be honest sometimes it’s made all the worse by the presumption you should be having a great time. You should have people all around you who love you to bits and everything should be marvellous. But life isn’t really like that is it? Christmas often isn’t enough to fix or even gloss over all our problems, so sometimes they seem heightened at this time of year. Sometimes they seem worse. Throw in the fact of the financial stress of Christmas. The fact that people drink too much and the fact that for whatever reason domestic violence is worse at this time of year and you get a heady Christmas cocktail of suffering for some people. Where home feels more like a pressure cooker than a haven of good cheer.

So what can you do if you’re feeling like that? The first thing to do is realise you’re not alone. Do not be deceived by the tinsel and the fairy lights – all that glitters isn’t gold. It’s not true that the whole world apart from you is happy. Do not be fooled into thinking you’re the only one alone or down this Christmas. Reach out to other people. If you are alone and don’t want to be – think about other people you know in that same position – could you ask them to spend the day with you? That way you won’t be on your own plus you will also get that sense of wellbeing you get from doing something for others. If home is where the hurt is – try to keep things on an even keel. Try not to drink too much – it makes you feel worse not better. Try not to stress yourself out. Christmas is not made any more special by spending every penny you have or even worse pennies you don’t have, on stuff that you don’t need. Don’t compare your life or your Christmas to other peoples. Comparison is one of the roots of unhappiness. Things always look better from the outside so there’s every chance that those who you think are having a great time may well be miserable themselves and thinking that you are having all the fun. Try and focus on all that is good in your life and your Christmas – however small that might seem to be right now. Get out and go for a walk. A walk on a blustery day makes you feel miles better. It connects you with those around you and lifts your spirits with endorphins more powerful than antidepressants. If you feel all muddled up about your life, write stuff down in a journal. Write all the negative stuff – it allows you to get it off your chest and try and write something positive too. Read back those positives – sometimes they’re easy to overlook. If you are all anxious and low this Christmas – maybe give social media a break. It can heighten your sense of isolation and it simply isn’t a true representation of anyone’s life. It’s all smoke and mirrors of people spinning their lives to look better than they are. Just remember you’re not really much different from anyone else and if you are struggling this Christmas chances are tons of other people are too. Be kind to yourself. Stop the self-criticism that says you aren’t as good as others and that you are the only one whose life is crap – that just isn’t true. Watch some good TV. Get some sleep. Eat some of your fave food.

Keep your chin up and allow yourself to enjoy whatever kind of Christmas you’ll be having this year. It’s yours and in lots of ways it’s every damn bit as good as anyone else’s. So all of you out there reading this – may you have a merry and peaceful little Christmas.

If you're experiencing domestic abuse, please call 0808-2000-247 or if you just need someone to talk to, call Samaritans on 116-123.

With love and service. xx


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