So tomorrow is Christmas day. If you’re anything like me you’re feeling a bit of excitement, a bit of dread and very overwhelmed.
The amount of emotional energy alone that Christmas involves means that anyone with a mental illness tomorrow is going to find some aspects of it hard. I thought I’d write a Christmas survival guide for all the others out there like me!
- Set boundaries. If possible, lets the people you’ll be spending Christmas with know in advance what you will and will not be doing on the day.
- As most conditions fluctuate, this might be difficult but remember you can change your mind and decide you are no longer willing or able to do something you said you could. This is okay and perfectly valid.
- Remember that it’s your Christmas too. You should get some enjoyment out of the day, even if you have to achieve that by doing some ‘non-festive’ type things. (I will definitely be napping at some point!)
- Reach out to your loved ones if you’re not feeling great. If this isn’t possible, most major helplines, such as The Samaritans (116 123) in the UK, are open on Christmas day.
- Practise coping mechanisms. Learned anything useful in therapy? Mindfullness? Reality checking? Grounding techniques? Now’s the day to use them! If you haven’t, here you go: Mindfullness exercises, the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique
- Look after yourself – take time out, stay hydrated, take your meds, eat something healthy.
Hopefully some of this is helpful to someone out there struggling. I’m wishing everyone a good holiday time and if you have any tips yourself, please add them in the comments!