At Body & Soul, we understand that certain times of the year can be more difficult than others. We asked Katherine, who provides counselling for both Adult and Teen Spirit members, to blog about coping over the festive period, and provide a few tips for making it through into the new year with optimism and hope.
Season of good cheer? Maybe, and for some it certainly is, but for some of us it can be a time of increased stress and difficulty. Maybe due to geographical distance, or bereavement, we can’t be with the people we love and we can feel lonely and isolated, at a time when everyone else seems to be with family and friends. Christmas can place a heavier burden on strained relationships – it’s a time of year when we feel we ‘should’ be happy and jolly with everyone but maybe there are arguments and disagreements, estrangements and frosty silences.
Christmas can be a difficult time if we’re struggling for money – our children want the latest gadget or expensive trainers, the food bill seems somehow to double in price. Every time we turn the TV on, happy families are sitting down to sumptuous food full of jollity and we can easily feel that somehow we’re doing it all wrong, and that life has given us a really raw deal.
Shall I let you into a secret? That whole thing about everyone being 100% happy and jolly from Dec 1st – Jan 2nd? It’s a myth. A story. Sure, there’s happiness and fun but, just like with all the rest of the year, Christmas, for all of us, can have its struggles and strains. So if it’s not all fun and frivolity for you – you’re not alone.
So what’s the whole thing really about? If we have a Christian faith, it is, of course, a time of year to celebrate the birth of Christ. If we don’t have Christian beliefs, we may still consider Christmas a time to consider the Christian story and its wider spiritual significance. Most of us probably think about Christmas as a time to show love and consideration to others, by the giving of gifts and celebrating together. It is, after all, a festival in the dark time of the year and it’s always good to bring light and joy into the gloom and cold which is December in this country.
So what does Christmas mean to you? Is it a time of joy and happiness? If so – enjoy! If it is a mixed or a bleaker picture, here are some thoughts which might help you through:
• Talk to someone about it – a friend, health professional, counsellor or family member
• Plan something to do over the Christmas period. Sometimes people can think ‘I’ll just pretend it’s not happening’ but that rarely works – Christmas is pretty un-ignorable!
• Think about what you can do for somebody else – making someone else happy is infectious…
• If you’re struggling, do remember that the Samaritans is a 24 hour, 365 days a year helpline. You can ring them on 08457 90 90 90
I hope you have a very happy Christmas!
Love Katherine x