Looking after yourself at Christmas
As Christmas approaches, Just ‘B’ is offering the community useful tips on how to look after themselves at across the festive season, which can be a particularly busy time where emotions are intensified.
For many people, Christmas can be a lonely or isolating time, particularly for those experiencing bereavement – whether their significant person died recently or many years ago.
Christmas and New Year can set up unrealistic expectations, and this can be overwhelming for many people, who feel pressure to ‘get into the spirit’ of things and have fun, when in reality they may be experiencing many complex emotions around their grief.
After a bereavement there are many ‘firsts’ people experience – birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Don’t bottle up your grief; embrace the memories of the person who has died, talk about them and give yourself permission to cry as and when you need to.
Ways to cope at Christmas
- Do what feels right for you: whether you want to be alone, or surrounded by people.
- Make time for yourself. Doing something for yourself that you enjoy, no matter how small, can be a great psychological break from the stress of Christmas.
- Some people find it helpful to create new traditions or new customs to pay tribute to the people who have died. Try not to feel guilty about changing your routine, or about keeping routines that are important to you – whether you spend Christmas somewhere new, or lay their place at the dinner table, do what makes you feel comfortable.
- Tears are a normal part of the grief journey, and so is laughter – moments of happiness or humour don’t mean that you have forgotten the person that has died, but that you are learning to live with your grief.
- Accepting offers of help – from practical support with shopping or a listening ear – can ease the pressure of the festive period and give you time out to recharge your emotional energy.
- If you feel you may experience loneliness over the Christmas period, pick up the phone to friends or family, or an established support line. Many online forums also offer you the chance to connect with others in a similar position to you.
- If you are on your own this Christmas, take advantage of a daily walk or run – regardless of the weather. Exercise will help the mind relax and it will do you good to have a change of scenery.
- It’s a good time to indulge yourself. You could enjoy a box set TV series, try a new hobby, cook something special for yourself and throw out the usual ‘rules’.
- Above all, be kind to yourself. Remember, this is just another day.
- If you feel things may be getting too much, don’t try to get through it yourself – talk to someone, whether it is a friend, family member, community group or established support line.
Just B is running its Hear to Help helpline throughout the Christmas and New year period, open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
Hear to Help is there to support anyone who needs a listening ear, whether they are grieving, feeling anxious, isolated or low in mood. T: (01423) 856 799