Christmas and mental health

christmas tree and presents.jpeg

Christmas can be an emotional time for many people. While it is primarily a time for friends and family, this also means it can be a difficult time for those of us who have lost people close to us. The weather, dark, bills, and social expectations can also be a lot to deal with. Although it can be an intimidating time for many reasons, there are ways you can prepare for Christmas that will help take away a lot of the pressure.

Make a List

Not of children who were naughty or nice, but of the things you like most about Christmas. Make a pros & cons list just for yourself, and pick out what you really do or don’t enjoy about the holiday. You might not be able to avoid everything on your cons list, such as dinner with your uncle that actually wanted Trump to win, but you will take away a lot of stress if you simply stop forcing yourself to take part in activities you don’t enjoy. Sometimes it can be nice to do things other people like, but if you hate it, don’t force yourself.

Be Prepared

As we said, some things on your cons list will be inevitable. Although you may not be able to avoid certain activities, you can still reduce the amount of stress associated with them. One of the most-hated Christmas activities is, unsurprisingly, buying gifts. But what exactly is it about buying gifts that you don’t like? If it’s the stress of shopping in crowded stores, consider buying everything online. If it’s that you’re worried about getting the wrong thing, simply ask the other person. Most of us have a long list of things we’re secretly hoping to get, so asking for ideas is never a bad one. If money is an issue, then you can try making homemade gifts, such as candles. Not only will these be more thoughtful, but you can even use it as an opportunity to relax, or as a Christmas activity with others. The most important thing is that you identify the root of your dislike, and face it straight on.

Put Aside a Little Extra

One of the least enjoyable parts of Christmas is how much it costs. Budgeting alone can be a stressful situation, but even after you’ve gotten all of your presents, you’re still expected to go to parties, drinks, relatives, and so on. It might seem impossible, but try your best to put away a little bit of money for nothing in particular. Something can always pop up, and your forethought will save you from unnecessary stress showing up out of the blue. Worst comes to worst, you won’t need it and you can spend it on yourself in the sales.

Put Yourself First

Although it’s the season of giving and selflessness, the truth is you shouldn’t feel obliged to do anything you don’t want at Christmas. There can be a lot of social pressure to go out, meet people you don’t know, or do things you don’t like. You need to remember that nobody is going to say no on your behalf. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are alright. So do what you can, not what your told to do.

David Clarke