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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! So why does it feel like such hard work? 20th December, 2015

With the end of the year upon us and the beginning of a new one just around the corner, this transitional period makes for a time for reflection.

With so much to organise, the run up to Christmas can feel pressured and stressful and it’s easy to forget the festivities are meant to be fun!

Spending more time with family members than usual can put a strain on relationships, bringing unresolved difficulties sharply into focus.  Christmas can bring matters to a head.

While December can be an uplifting time for many people, it can also heighten loneliness and hopelessness.  For some people, Christmas may be a period to survive.  Numerous songs have been written about this.  Think of George Michael's ‘Last Christmas’; Mud and ‘Lonely This Christmas’; Elvis’s ‘Blue Christmas’ and heaps more.  These songs give voice to the universal feelings of loss and unrequited love. 

The seasonal change of cold and winteriness can also reflect the loneliness and isolation felt and shut down emotions.  Although it has been unseasonally mild this year, I noticed yesterday the pale pink of cherry blossom symbolic of spring and a time of renewal, new beginnings, optimism and hope.

So how do we take the pressure off and make Christmas more enjoyable?  Well…

  • Self-care is really important and whilst you may wish to put your loved ones first, it’s also important to think about how you would like to spend Christmas.
  • If you don’t want to spend the entire day with your in-laws for example, then why not suggest spending the morning or day with them and the evening with your own friends, parents or other loved ones?  Or perhaps you would prefer to spend some time on your own or with your partner?
  • Remember, you don’t need to join in with the frenzy and need for perfection – an illusion created by the commercial industry.  You can choose how much you buy into this (literally).  Whilst some people may want to enshrine themselves in everything Christmas, others will feel happier escaping from the madness preferring peace and quiet and solitude.  How you wish to spend Christmas is really up to you. 
  • The true meaning of Christmas, let’s not forget and as represented in the nativity scene, is about the birth of baby Jesus and the giving of gifts.  The rest is a narrative of our own making and this narrative changes over time and culture in which we live. 
  •   If you are in charge of the stressful event of cooking and entertaining the whole family then delegate, delegate, delegate!  Don’t be a martyr – Share the load, shopping and expense!  You don’t have to do it all yourself so ask for help.

If you are feeiing overwhelmed and under pressure and would like someone to talk to then please get in touch: 

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