4 x expert tips to help you cope with a 2020 Christmas
It should be the most wonderful time of the year, but right now there is a bit of a different feeling in the air. 2020 has been a difficult one to manage. We've had a global health crisis, seen loved ones lost, experienced various last minute lockdowns, had our routines flipped upside down and had our heads filled with worry and fear. Most of us got to December thinking we pretty much made it through the year (yay) ... the joyous festive season was finally upon us and we could welcome 2021 in with open arms! But, the reality we have been hit with is, unfortunately, a more stressful Christmas all round.
Christmas is a tricky one as for many of us it can already bring about stress, anxiety, loneliness and monumental pressures. This season, the build-up has been uncertain, our usual traditions have been taken out of our hands, and a lot of us don't have an option to spend time with relatives and friends. With all this in mind, there’s never been a more important time to look after our mental health and take extra care (both those of us familiar with negative mental health experiences and those of us who have never experienced it before).
Normally to deal with Christmas we might read a handful of blogs or advice columns discussing coping skills for dealing with social pressure, but this year we're all in need of some different material. We want you to know that it’s ok not to feel particularly sparkly. It's ok to cry, to be upset and angry, and to feel all kinds of different emotions ... and watch out as they’re likely to spring at us at any moment! Our life coaches would like to give you some advice to help you get through this festive season.
Tips for Coping with a 2020 Christmas:
1. Celebrate yourself:
With fewer plans in place, fewer social engagements, and restrictions on celebrations, you should celebrate yourself, even more, this year. Have some family time if you can and connect with friends and loved ones, but while 2021 creeps up and thoughts of another year like this one appear, celebrate your strength in making it through! Make a list of all your positive achievements and a list of the obstacles you’ve overcome this year. We’ve all experienced unsettling and unprecedented pressure so to still be here, pushing forward is amazing. You are amazing.
2. Allow yourself to feel your emotions:
It would possibly be weirder to be absolutely fine right now. Even those of us who don’t particularly enjoy Christmas and don’t mind the smaller celebrations might be feeling a bit weird. Whether we enjoy the holidays or not, they happen around us every year. With turmoil and disappointment surrounding this year, it can be hard not to feel even a bit negative. If you’re feeling sad, angry, frustrated, fed up, or just over it - don’t ignore the feelings. Sit with them when they come, acknowledge them and acknowledge why you might be feeling this way. Then find something you enjoy doing after. Bake a cake, draw a picture, go for a walk!
3. Stay connected:
Loneliness is a big problem in itself at Christmas and the recent news of tighter restrictions may be making us feel even more lonely this year. Although we can't physically see other family members or friends, technology is on our side (even if you are sick a zoom quiz). There are lots of ideas to jazz up your usual calls like murder mystery parties or escape rooms. But, even just a simple catch up with your girlfriends or a group call with relatives you won’t see this year is the next best thing to an actual meet-up. Reach out to those who live alone and reach out to those who live with lots. We need to reassure each other that we’re not alone and that many of us will be feeling blue – and that is ok!
4. Practice acceptance:
This one isn’t going to be easy, but it will help us through these difficult times. Unfortunately, Christmas and the New year are not going to miraculously send Covid away, so we need to accept this before we get bogged down with the negativity of it all. That doesn’t mean we have to be or feel positive all the time, but it means we have to do our best in the situation we are in. It means practising extra compassion, for ourselves and others. It means accepting that this is hard, but it will not be forever – even if the timeline is seemingly drifting away from us with every new rule.
The constant possibility of change throughout December in terms of the tiers and restrictions has been particularly unpleasant. We, humans, are not built to thrive off such uncertainty at all, and even though we understand why the restrictions are in place (to save lives and protect the general public’s health), and we might have already come to terms with the thought of a smaller Christmas this year, we might not be feeling so merry and bright after the further restrictions that came to light on Saturday. Normality will return but for now, this is normality for a pandemic that no one has experienced before.
As the week continues closer to Christmas day, we hope you can feel a little glow of joy, and we hope those who haven’t felt it yet do so soon. Those of us who are really struggling at this time please reach out for help, whether it’s a friend or family member, or a professional there is support available to us. We all need a little help from time to time ... and we’ve just got through 2020 so we could all use a little bit extra!
From the Beingwell Family, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We could all do with keeping our hope alive this Christmas. If you'd like to learn more about hope and it's incredible properties, please read our recent blog written by one of our lovely neuroscientists here.