What does the Christmas period mean to you? Family, snow, Father Christmas, Jesus, presents, carol singers, Joy…?
According to Mind 52% of people considered harming themselves over the Christmas period, while 45% had considered taking their own life. For some, including myself, Christmas can create a deep sense of loneliness and dread.
So what is it that has caused Christmas to sting, rather than sound a jingle bell ring? It may be that your parents are no longer together meaning you have to divide your Christmas between the two of them. Maybe your grieving for someone you lost this year and this is the first Christmas you face without them? Or maybe your life is not going the way you imagined it to and now another year is coming to an end, leaving you feeling hopeless.
In the same survey Mind also found that 76% of people had trouble sleeping and that 60% suffered with Panic attacks over the Christmas period. One of the hardest things I find is that the media portrays the Christmas season to be a picture perfect happy and harmonious day. So if my day doesn’t follow suit, I can feel like a failure and wonder if there is something inherently wrong with me. I have to remind myself that there is no right or wrong way for the Christmas period to pan out. You are not alone if you are struggling during the holidays, sometimes there is mourning in the midst of merry.
Whatever the reason that you find Christmas difficult, here are some of my top tips that I will be employing that may help you to help yourself over the Christmas period:
1) Have your favourite films close by so you can watch them to make you happy and distract yourself if you need to
2) Speak to people – Tell someone you trust that your struggling and I promise you they wont think any less of you! They will just want to help ease your pain.
3) Get outside – Enjoy the beauty of all the nature around us.
4) Don’t avoid people – I know when your struggling and hurting you just want to shut yourself away and hide and you think this will be easier on your friends. And the truth is its not easier on them or yourself because then you think that nobody cares because you haven’t seen anybody
5) Phone Samaritans – If you need to talk to someone impartial (or you can email them if you don’t want to ring!) The Samaritans are also holding the #RealChristmas campaign highlighting that it is not always the picture perfect holiday for everyone. Remember, Christmas is only one day. I find it helpful to look at my past record of surviving each and every ‘one’ day. You have made it through each and every Christmas up to now. So I believe you can make it through this one too!
All the best,