For some people Christmas is a high pressure time of year. There are family pressures, financial pressures as well as time pressures. There is the pressure to drink, smile, eat, be happy, socialise…yet we might not feel like doing any of these things.
For people with addictions there is the pressure to socialise yet abstain from alcohol or drugs. This in itself is near impossible when alcohol is widely accepted as the social thing to ‘do’ at Christmas. Every other advertisement on TV is for alcohol; showing people having fun at the office party, looking beautiful and ‘together’ when in reality, that image can be very much the opposite.
There are the parties with friends where drugs may be a temptation. “Come on, it’s Christmas. Treat yourself.” But for people that have nearly had their lives destroyed through addiction this is not a treat.
Pressure to be with family members who we may not always see eye to eye with can result in days of procrastination; “should I go to see them? If I do there may be an argument. If I don’t I feel guilty and they will not talk to me…” This can result in anxiety and all we want to do is go back to bed and forget the whole thing is happening.
Yet what if we take the pressure off ourselves? What if we are kind to ourselves and know our limitations? This is about knowing who we are and just how much we can cope with at this manic time of the year. What does showing yourself some self care look like to you? Is it spending a day watching movies and eating chocolate? Is it going for a long run and then having a hot bath and just locking yourself away for the day. It’s whatever it is that will get you through this season. And sometimes it’s just about saying, “Thank you for the invite. I’m sorry I can’t make it that evening.” Because if this is what will help keep you anxiety free then isn’t it worth the occasional “No thank you.”
Above all take care of yourself and have a stress free Christmas.