I realise it seems a bit morbid to be talking about “doom and gloom” during all the happiness and festive joy that December brings, but this is very much the reality for a lot of people. So, to give you hope this holiday season, I thought I would share my tips on how I cope with my struggles so that you can cope, too..
Now, Christmas is honestly one of my favourite times of year. I get to spoil all the people I love, eat all the food I want and warble like a cat being strangled to Mariah. The thing is, though, despite all this to look forward to, I can still be found on Christmas sobbing and on the verge of a panic attack.
There is all this pressure around this time of year. Although I love spoiling the people I love, it comes with feeding into this materialistic bragging where people parade all over social media with their presents. When I go onto Instagram on Christmas Day, I’m inundated with pictures of piles of presents.
I compare myself a lot to other people, which makes me feel very inadequate.
I mean, I do this daily, to the point where I end up deleting my social media apps for a few days just so I can clear my head of all the bullshit we are fed. But, seeing everyone’s huge piles of presents can lead you to feel unworthy if you haven’t got as much. This is the part of Christmas that I really hate.
I am struggling with this because I had an operation and have since been off work; pennies are tight. I feel completely useless and totally inadequate because I can’t go out and buy the people I love all the presents and goodies they want. So, when I see people out and about splashing the cash with all the bags, it makes me feel like rubbish. I know that isn’t what Christmas is about, but it’s hard trying to rationalise that with yourself.
My little brother, Thomas wrote a beautiful post on his school blog.
He reminded me that Christmas is not about how much money you spend, and, as he so eloquently put it, it is, in fact, about giving the precious gifts of time, love and friendship.
Christmas is a time for reconnecting with friends and family and going out at night. But, for someone that is very overwhelmed by busy and loud environments, it is difficult. You feel this guilt for not going out and socialising. Someone people don’t understand, and think that you are just flaky; but when you are on the verge of breaking down, it is hard to meet social obligations. So, you become a little hermit, living in bed eating chocolate fingers watching Love Actually for the millionth time, sobbing your heart out for Emma Thompson (this is totally what I did this weekend.)
Now that I have waffled on for a while, here are a few of my tips to survive Christmas if you are struggling at all. Some of these are my go-to’s, and some I have yet to try out…
Delete social media
If you are like me and get overwhelmed, feel inadequate and spend your day scrolling and comparing yourself, just DELETE the apps, even if it is just for a day. I have found myself less anxious and more present in my actual real life. Let’s be real, the reality of a lot of people’s lives is not how they portray it online etc.
Run a hot bath
Stick your favourite bath bomb or bubble bath, pour yourself a glass of wine or mug of hot chocolate, clamber in and just luxuriate. You deserve it!
If any of you have ever watched Grey’s Anatomy, you will have seen Meredith and Christina have a 30 second dance party when life is going to shit. Turn an absolute banger loud and dance like nobody’s watching. Honestly, it does wonders for the soul! My go-to song is Love Shack by the B-52s.
Do something in your local community
Whether it is donating to a food bank, homeless shelter, or toys for children who might get nothing, get out there and give to those who are less fortunate.
If you are struggling at all this Christmas, you are not alone. Talk about how you are feeling to someone, whether that be a family member, friend or a service like the Samaritans. Don’t struggle in silence.