Christmas is the time of year full of joy, excitement and happiness. However, it can be a stressful time of year. If you are struggling with mental health problems it can feel like forced joy and happiness. It can feel overwhelming if you are struggling with a depression, or an eating disorder. Much of christmas is about food and if you’re struggling, it can only make the struggles worse by disrupting routines, introducing surprise foods that you may feel uncomfortable about, or having to join in with meals you don’t want to have.
It is important though to look after yourself. If others have expectations of you, don’t put them on yourself. Only expect from yourself what you are comfortable doing. Christmas isn’t worth a break down, tears or hurting yourself in any way. If you don’t want to go to a meal, perhaps suggest you meet those loved ones in another setting throughout the christmas season.
If you’re worried about food, just eat what you’re comfortable with. Try and ask if you can serve up your own plate so you can control what goes on your plate and what doesn’t. If you struggle with bulimia, don’t let yourself get too hungry because that can pre-empt a binge.
Eating regularly and often is a helpful technique for combatting the binge urges. However, at the same time if it happens, observe it. It happened, yes. It’s not the end of the world though. Depending on where you are in your recovery will affect these feelings, but it is OK to slip up if you do. Christmas is a hard time of year for many people in different ways.
If you feel overwhelmed during the festive season and need some alone time, perhaps there could be somewhere quiet you could go on your own to get some head space. If you have a number of coping techniques there is no reason why these can’t be utilised at christmas to help you cope with the chaos the season brings with it.
As for myself, what will I be doing over the christmas period?
I’ll be in a house full of children, so I will definitely be slipping off for some alone time here and there. I have been feeling quite down lately, so I think taking my book or going for a walk will really help me. I have my medications all sorted and will bear in mind that it is for 3 days only.
What will you be doing to cope over the holiday season?