Take time for your 'self' this Christmas
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Lucy Payne - Novo Counselling, Bromley
30th November, 20150 Comments
Its that time of year when we start to think about who and how we will spend Christmas. Our view is often that other people have it ‘all worked out’ and they are lucky to have close loving friends and family to spend time with. Often this is not the case; some of us can feel lonely and isolated or obligated to spend this precious time with people who we don’t want to, which is born out of years of feeling responsible for the happiness of others.
We sometimes try to focus on providing the best Christmas for everyone and lose sight of what we need ourselves. This can be at the cost of our own enjoyment and time. The financial cost of Christmas can often put us in such debt that we are crippled with worry for months to follow, or when we cannot afford to buy what we believe will make others happy we feel inadequate.
I often spend time with clients during this challenging time and part of the struggle for people going through this, is the internal conflict we have about what is best for your ‘self’ or needed for others to be happy.
To help guide you through this time, remember to be thoughtful and kind to yourself. You too deserve ‘time-out’ from the pressures and responsibilities of daily life: time that could be used to reflect and reevaluate in a healthy positive way, to look back over the year, be proud of what you achieved and learn from what made you unhappy. Life is about balance, think about how much satisfaction you felt from work, friends and family members. If something held you back, or had a negative impact, think about what you could do differently.
Now is a good time to be realistic with your budget. If you can’t afford it, why are you buying it? If the answer is to make someone else happy, think how they would feel if they knew their happiness caused you pain. Think about being open to those people and explain you cannot afford extravagant gifts, maybe suggest inviting them for dinner or spend some quality time together. This is far more valuable and will undoubtedly strengthen relationships. People of any age, need presence more than presents.
If you are struggling with who to split your time with, think about who is the most significant person/people in your life. Who would you like to be around? Many of us feel duty-bound to see our nearest and dearest (who we’ve not seen for months). What is that telling you? Maybe your daily life is outbalanced and you would like to manage your time more effectively to ensure you keep in contact more during the year? Or, it may be telling you that you are not that close anymore? If it’s the latter, think about whose needs you are meeting, yours or your distant relatives?
The most important thing to be mindful of is being kind to yourself and kind to others, in that order. If you think this is impossible or simply too difficult at the moment, perhaps consider investing in a few counselling sessions that could help you. It could make a world of difference to you and help you restore some much needed balance and peace in the approach to the festive season.
About the author
I offer short or long-term counselling, from an integrative framework, which means I am able to draw upon cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), person centred therapy and psychodynamic therapy. As well as individuals, couples, families and adolescents, I work with schools and employers, which gives me a rounded and coherent view of the world.
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