Leaving Christmas blues behind
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Niki Ridgley, FDA Integrative Counselling; Registered MBACP (Accred); BA (hons)
27th November, 20140 Comments
Christmas can be a wonderful time of year, and for many of us it represents a time when we can fulfil our hopes and dreams of how life "should" be. On TV we are constantly reminded of what the ideal family "should" look like; the gifts we "should" be giving; and the current lifestyle we "should" aspire to. It's a lot to live up to!
We hear on the radio about glamorous parties and work do's and it can seem like everyone else is having a good time and an amazing social life; we see the shops are full of expensive "must have" goodies, decorated to the max. Christmassy music gets us in the spirit. Everyone's having a fab time, aren't they? In truth, a lot of people find their senses and resources, financial and emotional are stretched to the limit.
If you are already feeling the stress of juggling work, home and family life, or are struggling with other issues such as unemployment or ill health, the additional demands that Christmas sometimes brings can feel overwhelming, and you may feel that you just can't live up to the "ideal". The pressure of consumerism can compel us to work longer and longer hours, to earn the money to provide for our loved ones; or we may have time deadlines to achieve before we can take time off at Christmas. Finding a work/life balance can seem nigh on impossible. No wonder Christmas is a time when many of us go down with flu, or feel generally exhausted. For some, Christmas can be a time of increased anxiety, disturbed sleep and stress overload.
Family is centre stage at Christmas, but often the pressure to create the perfect Christmas, or spend time with in laws/ step parents/children or extended family, can take its toll on relationships and be the catalyst for conflict with those closest to us. Uncomfortable feelings or resentments that have been bubbling under can rise to the surface and may cause couples to re evaluate their relationship, or in some cases to relationship breakdown. For some, Christmas brings up feelings of sadness and loneliness, associated with past loss, pain and regret.
If you find yourself at breaking point this Christmas and are wondering what it's all about, counselling may be helpful. Your counsellor may be able to help you to explore and how you are feeling and look at ways to manage your hopes and expectations, how you can cope with stressful times or examine what you want from your relationship, work life or family life. This could be the Christmas where you make changes that mean Christmas is a more positive experience for you in the future!
About the author
Niki is a qualified, integrative counsellor and member of the BACP, with a private practice in Dorking.
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