Far From Happy Christmas

Christmas is eagerly anticipated by many, yet many others dread the festive season. If your life is a far cry from the jolly family gatherings that are shown in television ads, Christmas can highlight what’s missing.

Dreading the Celebrations

Maybe this is your first Christmas without someone special. Bereavement can certainly sap all the joy out of the celebrations. The thought of being around others and putting on an act might feel worse than sitting it out alone. Either way there is a huge void which can’t be filled, even with a house full of people.

On the other hand, you may have to spend considerable time with someone who makes everything difficult. Are you forced to share your Christmas break with a grumpy aunt, a mother-in-law with exacting standards, hyperactive nieces and nephews, or an abusive partner? This situation can put you on edge, fire up the stress levels to breaking point and be a far cry from those loving, caring family at Christmas images.

There are also an increasing number of families that are just about managing to get by each month. Finances are extremely tight, but with careful budgeting, they are making ends meet. Then Christmas comes and the children hand over their letter to Santa, the extended family want to come over for a traditional roast with all the trimmings and work colleagues invite you out to the office do. If you’re worried about money, it’s hard to enjoy any of it.

Dealing with these and many other issues can put you on edge from November, when Christmas decorations and gifts appear in the shops, town centre lights are switched on and festive tunes start playing on the radio.

Reducing the Stress

If this sounds all too familiar, it is time to take action. Firstly, you need to consider what you need to get through the coming weeks. Where can you find the time and space to do things for yourself? Schedule in time to take a weekly walk in the woods or relax in the bath, the chance to read a book, listen to a favourite album or meet up with a good friend. A regular slot of ‘me time’ can really help.

If money is tight, consider other gifts that you could give. A babysitting voucher would be welcomed by most parents. You may be able to offer other services, such as ironing or fixing a bike puncture. When it comes to children, how about a voucher for a day out? You might promise a trip to the zoo or the seaside later in the year, so you can spread the costs. A city trip to see the Christmas lights and a (free) museum can provide happy memories, which last longer than a costly toy.

If Christmas has highlighted issues in your life, the best present you could invest in is counselling. Counselling offers the chance to talk in confidence, to be heard and to make steps towards change. Techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you to see things from a different perspective, to address what you need and to support you in implementing change.

If you would like to know more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham based Cognisant PDC is happy to explain. We have supported hundreds of individuals to find a more positive future and we can help you too.