Christmas - a day to survive?

By Anne Reilly

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Christmas is a time that is loaded with meaning and expectation which can be problematic for many people. We have it forced upon us that its a time of joy and that we must be spending it with our families and our children and loved ones. But what if we don’t have children or don’t have a good relationship with our families and don’t have an intimate partner to spend it with?

Or perhaps this is the first Christmas without a loved one or the first Christmas without children, or yet just another reminder that we don’t fit into the “happy family” stereotype. The joy that we are expected to feel can turn out to be dread, sorrow, shame or grief and a reminder of loss. It can be an emotionally intense time which means we have to be extra mindful of how we manage ourselves. Who do you want to be around that is going to add to your wellbeing? If you think you might be feeling particularly emotional or low perhaps you need to skip the alcohol?

Don’t make any big decisions on the day. I’ve heard many a client say to me “If things aren’t better by Christmas, Im leaving”. Reactivity can be high at this time of the year,  at least wait until the New Year and then book in for some counselling sessions to make a considered decision.  It is only one day but the effect on our wellbeing can be immense if we aren’t careful and mindful of ourselves.

Of course, in this country there can be a lot to look forward to during this period . It’s the beginning of Summer and for most there is some time off work to enjoy and relax. Look for the opportunities rather than fixate on the loss. When Boxing day arrives, it’s a new day! Make your own meaning out of Christmas and don’t buy into the media’s interpretation of what you’re supposed to be doing or who you’re supposed to be spending it with.

Merry Christmas! :-)

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Anne Reilly

Counsellor

B.SOC.SC, PGDIP