Coping at Christmas
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Janine Wilcockson Dip.Couns Member MBACP
10th November, 20130 Comments
Are you one of the many people who are dreading Christmas this year?
Is it a time of painful memories?
Do you feel lonely even when in the company of others?
Does the act of putting on a ‘happy face’ for the sake of others take its toll on you?
Do you feel like you should be ‘over it’ by now but instead you are finding it hard to deal with a lost loved one?
Or do you have high expectations of your family/friends that always leave you feeling angry, frustrated or disappointed?
Reminders of Christmas are everywhere at this time of year, but unfortunately it can be one of the hardest times of the year for lots of people. Being alone or bereaved at the time when the focus is on family, friendships, love and happiness, only intensifies feelings of sadness, loneliness and loss.
Even those with a family can find this a testing time. Relationships often suffer over the busy Christmas period with time often given to ‘must do’ tasks rather than quality time spent with each other. The strain on the family's finances to provide the latest toys or must have gadgets can become a huge pressure especially during this time of recession and redundancy. Expectations of having the perfect day such as those depicted on the television, can leave you with feelings of anger or resentment at others behaviour or lack of support, or feelings of failure. Reflection and re-evaluation about these expectations and how realistic they are can help you feel more in control of your life.
Western society’s expectations of Christmas are fuelled by adverts showing a ‘perfect family' enjoying a ‘perfect day’. The message sent is that to fit in you need to be happy, healthy and a part of a loving family. The isolated, stressed or the depressed seem to be forgotten or overlooked.
You do not need to suffer alone. Help and support is available.
Counselling can help you explore your feelings and enable you to feel heard, valued, and less alone; welcoming the isolated back to the human race. Exploring any underlying issues such as loss, isolation, anxiety, or poor self esteem may help you reflect on and identify changes you wish to make in your life or move towards acceptance. Changing rigid expectations of having a perfect day to more realistic, flexible ones can help reduce anxiety and stress and also be transferred to other areas of your life.
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