It’s “the most wonderful time of the year.” Christmas trees, Santa and pretty, bright lights. How could you possibly feel anything but happiness? Well… because you have depression or anxiety. As much as I’d like to think that mental health conditions vanish during Christmas break, I’m afraid they don’t. In fairness, neither would a cold or a broken bone. Can you imagine? “shit its Christmas, I best get my arm out of this cast.”
The holiday period can be difficult if you have a mental health issue. On top of everything else that you’re dealing with, you feel guilty too… because it’s Christmas, so how could you possibly be sad? Great.
Guilt is one of the most crushing emotions and it’s falsely used as a punishment by the brain. However, try and remember the basic example that I wheel out at every opportunity. Would you feel guilty for having a cold or stomach bug? I hope not. So how is a mental condition any different? It isn’t and sadly, Christmas isn’t a cure!
That being said. DO NOT curl up with it and hide yourself away.
Top tips for dealing with Crimbo guilt:
- Allow yourself to feel exactly how you’re feeling. Suppressing emotions will only make them stronger. If you want to feel sad, anxious, horny or whatever.. then do!
- Be part of the festivities and keep your head up. You might find that social interactions with people who you love, good food, warmth and fun will naturally lift your mood after a while.
- Get out of the house. Yes it’s freezing, but a nice brisk walk can do wonders. I was in Germany at the weekend and in between stuffing my face at the Christmas markets I went for a long walk on the seafront with my family. After an hour I couldn’t believe the impact it had on my mood and general well being. I felt alive, (if that makes sense)? So get out for a good walk. Listen to some music or drag someone with you for a natter.
- Eat the food. Eat the food. Eat the food. Eat the food. Eat the food. Eat the food.
- If nothing else, remember that at the end of the day Christmas is about love. No need to over complicate it. So be with the people who make you feel loved and be ‘present’ in the moment.