Perfect timing, right? You may be heading to your in-laws’ house soon. Or you may be dragged to the compulsory holiday get together, but you want anything but. But mental health can take a nasty backseat when Christmas arrives. So how do you manage life with the holiday bustle? For my next Beyond the Blurb, a discussion series, I want to talk about some tips on how to survive the upcoming festivities.
You don’t need to attend any festivities
You aren’t obligated to go to any party, especially if you feel anything but excited. The holidays are meant to spend time with your family, friends, and loved ones. But if you can’t stand to be in the same room as them, then why force yourself in that situation? If you can handle only a few parties, then you’re doing yourself and others a favour.
Stop taking on too much responsibility
The winter holidays are the time to celebrate faith and family. And while some people (like me) aren’t religious, I believe in celebrating my family. Lately, I’ve taken on a lot so my Mom isn’t the only person dealing with the struggles of making Christmas great. If you need to delegate some tasks, go for it. You can’t expect to be the only person to make the holidays special.
Don’t let your finances or other decisions negatively affect your time
Budgets are often blown to bits when Christmas rolls around. You can budget to your heart’s desire. But life somehow finds a way to zap out the last penny from your bank account and wallet. So plan ahead and have a contingency plan if sometimes arises.
Take a break and relax
I can’t spend all my time in the Christmas spirit. I volunteer at a thrift shop. And even though I spend a few hours there, I cannot wait to get out of there when Christmas music is constantly playing. And I can’t always be with the people I love. I need “me” time. So I read. And I separate myself from everyone. But other times, I find that giving my time and socializing with my coworkers at that store are exactly what I needed.
Stop expecting the greatest Christmas (or another holiday)
The holidays aren’t a competition with anyone or with another year. You don’t need to be another Dudley 2.0. You need to figure out where you overindulge on things, understand what sets you off, and try to prevent a meltdown. Christmas got grown into a competition with some people. You don’t need the latest tech. You don’t need the most lights on the house. And you certainly don’t need to flare up your mental illness(es) just so you can be better than your neighbour/friend/family member.
Enjoy what Christmas means to you. Enjoy the innocence of it. Enjoy what it was like to be a child again. Christmas isn’t there to destroy whatever strength you’ve built when battling your mental illness. It’s there to celebrate family. So don’t let the commercialized version of this holiday get you down. If you are struggling though, talk with a trusted friend/family member who can help. Or reach out to a mental health provider. You shouldn’t suffer alone.