3 ways to stay merry this Christmas – don’t let the silly season be a sad one!

 

‘Tis the season to be jolly so they say. Not for everyone. For some people feelings of separation and loneliness can be magnified as they watch others laughing and having fun. Feelings of anxiety about the coming year and all that it might hold come to the fore. Depression caused by past events, relationship traumas or biochemical imbalance is made worse by the darkness (in the Northern hemisphere anyway.)

One man’s heaven can be another man’s hell. If Christmas and New Year are looking like an inferno to you then there are some things that you can do to help you move through it with as little damage as possible.

  1. Look after your body; I have listed the hardest one to do first, but your body (and subsequently your mind) will feel so much better if you can try not to give it too much of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. You know what I mean. We know that drugs, alcohol, sugar, lack of sleep, over eating and no exercise are all going to take their toll on how you feel and how you feel about yourself. Yet I just described Xmas to a tee. This year if you know you are susceptible to feeling low at this time, try and pace yourself. Even just having the awareness can help. Have a glass of water before you pour another wine. Have a slightly smaller serving of pudding (and only one serve). Just be mindful of how you are treating yourself. If you go in with an attitude of self care then you will probably make a few changes quite easily. Others – not so much – but at least it will be a start.
  2. Look after your mind; Spend time each day focusing on the breath. Breathing exercise and meditations will calm and steady the mind. I know I harp on about it but that’s because it works. If you feel like everything is beginning to bubble up and become too much then find a spot to sit and begin to make each breath longer than the last. Soon you will be doing long, slow, deep breaths. The slower the breath, the slower the mind. This also activates your parasympathetic nervous system and will slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure and promote a feeling of peace and calm. And what’s more you can do it anytime, anywhere, if needs be.
  3. Look after your spirit; be really kind to others. If you go out of your way to do random acts of kindness then you will feel good about yourself. Not much more to say about that one really.

I for one am finding that the approach of my 3rd Xmas morning with only my beautiful dog around feels a little bit heavy in the heart. I will get calls from the family back in London (40 hours of travel away from me) and I miss them terribly. But I have armoured myself against any more disastrous feelings. I swapped my days off (not enough for the long journey home) with a colleague so he can spend time with his family. That makes me feel a bit better. I’m grateful that I have a job where I can be kind to people I have never met before and make them feel better. That makes me feel even better. I have done a random act of kindness for today to someone who is exceptionally rude and obnoxious as a rule. This has the bonus value of making you feel even better than a random act of kindness to a nice person. I won’t be drinking alcohol because I’m on call so there will be no hangover to deal with. The eating and sleeping part will depend on how much work we get but I will no doubt have enough time to make my way through the kilos of seafood in my fridge and the gluten and sugar free diet can bugger off until the new year. But hey! I know I’m going to be smiling so that’s ok.

Last but not least – however down you might feel remember that there is always someone worse off than yourself. There are always things to be grateful for. Start counting the blessings this Xmas has bestowed upon you , be it a roof over your head, a dog to cuddle, food in the fridge, the love of friends and family, be they far or near.

And if all that fails then you need to get my book (click here) and begin to change your life for the better.

A very merry Christmas to everyone. Big, big love,

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