For many Christmas can be a difficult time. Suddenly being surrounded by family can bring back old memories or exacerbate complicated situations. If you think you may find the festive season hard then now is the time to do some planning to help you through it. Have you thought about travelling? Fares can often be cheaper to some destinations around Christmas and there's no law that says you have to stay here.
In the lead up to Christmas try to focus on the good things in your life. Your health, your work, the friends and/or family that love you. When you feel the blues tugging at your sleeve, don't let it take over. Distract yourself with an activity that you enjoy. How about a relaxing bubble bath, reading a book, watching your favourite video? Perhaps you might enjoy getting out of the house and doing some Christmas shopping or visiting a friend? Make a list of all the things you've achieved this year.
Sing, sing, sing
Buy yourself some Christmas carols and sing along to them. Research has shown that this really helps to lift your spirits and this is the only time of the year you can get away with it right? Perhaps go along to an organised Christmas service somewhere and really get into it.
If you think (or know from past experience) that this is going to be a bad time of year then tell a friend it's a hard time for you and ring them if you need a top up. Have the number for at least two 24 hour crisis lines next to the phone and use them! Schedule sessions with your counsellor for just before or after Christmas if you think you'll need them.
Gifts for me
While you're busy spending your hard earned cash on everyone else, make sure to buy yourself at least one thing you really want. Don't be stingy, splurge on yourself - you deserve it! Every time you look at your gift to yourself remind yourself that you are worth it.
Christmas means time off so make some plans for how you can fill in the time now. Perhaps make a list of all the things you've been meaning to get onto but never find the time. Visit an art gallery or museum, visit a fun park, try to get to level 10 on that new game, spend a day in bed with a good book and a box of chocolates or maybe it's time to create that work of art. Put the list on the fridge and add to it every time inspiration strikes. Remember that this is not a list of things you have to do, but more a reminder that there are so many things you want to do and can do. Include a few challenges like trying a new activity or sport, go to a concert or get your palm read. These will not only give you the buzz of accomplishment if you do them but they're great conversation starters when people ask about your Christmas plans.
On the day
OK, it's Christmas day and you're about to be up to your neck in relatives and perhaps tricky situations. Enact your survival strategy. Open your present to yourself first thing and enjoy it. When you're with family talk about what you've done or have got planned to do on your time off (they'll think you're a dynamo). Remind yourself of the plans you have for that night or the next day that don't involve Christmas and look forward to them. Be polite and don't let yourself be drawn into old behaviours that make you feel bad. After a few hours you can leave and then your time is your own. Don't stew or mull over what happened, you've got way too much to do.
To all have a healthy and safe Christmas.