Christmas: feeling excited or dreading it?
“So here it is, merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun!”
The old song by Slade, decorations in shops, and adverts on television all seem to promise us happy family gatherings - peace at home, if not on earth. Yet for some, this official gaiety just seems to highlight our difficulties or sadness, and can leave us feeling unsettled for weeks beforehand.
How can we help ourselves? Perhaps one thing to do is just to accept that this year, we can’t live up to the ideal. Accepting our situation can bring quite a sense of relief. Perhaps you feel guilty for feeling sad at this time? Yet if someone important to you is missing, your family is arguing, or life might get more difficult in the new year, it’s quite normal and healthy to feel sadness, or dread.
And how can we support other people? Perhaps similarly, it helps to acknowledge the reality, and allow someone a bit of time to share their feelings, or be sad in private. Don’t try to jolly people along; they will probably want to join the party again as soon as they can.
Even if your family don’t celebrate Christmas, it is the end of the year, a time when we look back at what’s happened in the past twelve months, and perhaps forwards with mixed feelings or even trepidation.
Not every year can be easy, even the Queen has been known to have her ‘annus horribilis’! So just do what you can, find little ways to take care of yourself, and you will get through. Remember, you’re not alone.
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About Catherine Cook
Catherine Cook is a BACP registered counsellor working in Crays Pond, near Goring on Thames, and in Caversham Heights. She specialises in working with people going through personal transitions or crises.
Tel: 0780 1074471 or see my website: www.catherinecook.co.uk