We have not long got over Bonfire Night and shops are becoming cluttered with reminders that the big day is only a relatively few short weeks away. TV adverts are beginning to show a bauble or two, supermarkets are stocking up on party food galore and the Christmas lights are beginning to be erected around every City (if they haven’t already been put up, like in Leeds!)
It won’t be long until we’re all up to our eyeballs in wrapping paper, the kids are high on a mixture of a school break and sugar, and we’re all doing the last minute mad rush to collect those forgotten presents. Christmas is the time of year that most of us associate with joy, families and togetherness. But for many people, Christmas brings about sadness, anxiety and financial worry. The over commercialisation, the high expectations and the reminder of bereavement and loss of a loved one means that thousands of people dread the big day, rather than celebrate it. Many people become hung up on their expectations of what the day should be like, or even the fact that they can’t be with loved ones during the festive period.
No one should feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious over the Christmas period, so here are 10 ways to beat the post Christmas blues:
- Forget about the ‘Perfect Christmas‘ and just enjoy the one that you have. If you enter the period with expectations that resemble the John Lewis advert or scenes in a snow globe, they will never compare. Look around at what you do have, rather than don’t have.
- Don’t anticipate disaster. For many people, the anticipation of Christmas is far worse than the reality, however, by the 25th December they have worked themselves up past the point of saving. Take the festive period as it comes and try not to put too much emphasis on the bad experiences that may have happened in years previously.
- Remember you are not a burden. For many people, they feel like they can’t talk about their feelings because they’re supposed to be happy and don’t want to bring others down. Lean on your support system, it’s okay not to be okay, no matter what time of year it is.
- Spend within your means. This relates to point number 1, don’t have outlandish expectations that you just simply cannot afford to fulfil. Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, not how much you spend, so remember it’s about who you’re with, not what is under the tree.
- Begin saving NOW! Obviously, Christmas does require a level of spending, and it’s best to save up before the big day than rely on pay day loans or similar concepts. Taking out these loans will only add to your stress, and no matter how hard you try and push it to the back of your mind, you’ll remind yourself consistently throughout the Christmas period.
- Whatever the circumstances are that may stop you from enjoying the Christmas holiday the way you would like to, it’s important to acknowledge what’s not in your power to control. Try to focus on something outside of these circumstances, make a list of all the positives and try and put any negativity to the back of your mind.
- You may feel like helping others is the last thing you want to do when you feel low, but by giving during the season of giving, this can really bring your spirits up and remind you about what Christmas is all about. Start by giving what you can to a food bank, volunteer or help an elderly person with their shopping… it’s the little things that mean the most!
- Look after yourself. It’s easy to become engulfed by the rush of Christmas preparation! Take time for yourself so that you can relax and unwind, allowing you to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
- Don’t rely on social media. The fundamental nature of social media is to convey the image that our lives are absolutely flawless. Over Christmas especially, social media outlets become inundated with post upon post about ‘The perfect Christmas’. Don’t compare your own life with other people’s lives and experiences, because even their experiences aren’t what they choose to put online.
- If you find yourself alone at Christmas, be that as a result of working or being away from your family, find some way of interacting over Christmas. Whether you choose to interact with colleagues, or other lonely people in your area, try to ensure that you are not alone.
By Hannah Fieldhouse.