“Christmas isn’t going to be the same this year.”
As tiring as it is to hear this constantly, it does have an element of truth. But it doesn’t mean we still have to feel joyful and happy all the time during a pandemic just because it’s Christmas. I know that’s how I hear it sometimes, and it can really get you down if you interpret it this way, but the truth is however you feel is valid. It’s been such a strange year, you’re allowed to feel whatever you feel, without having to explain yourself, even though it’s Christmas.
The new rules about the holidays will affect everyone differently, but I think we need to be more compassionate to others and ourselves too. Be kind to yourself about how you’re feeling. Don’t push away negative thoughts and emotions, but notice them, accept them, and try not to let them consume you. This will look different for everyone, but try to do things you love, have a go at some breathing exercises, or make sure you relax and take a break. Whatever feels right for you. You might have homework or revision to do, but after the year we’ve had, no one will blame you if you take a break.
It can be hard seeing everyone celebrating when you might not feel like it yourself. Everything’s harder now, especially getting into the Christmas spirit with so much uncertainty, while perhaps dealing with loss, stress and sadness. If there’s someone you feel you can talk to, please do. Keeping emotions to yourself may only make them worse. Thoughts and feelings shared between people halves the weight on your shoulders.
If there’s no one you feel like you can talk to, you can always use a helpline. Or try expressing your feelings in another way. I personally find it quite difficult to open up to people, so I find comfort in writing. I write poems to myself for myself, displaying raw feelings and thoughts. I always feel better after I’ve had a bit of a writing rant!
Take this time of celebration to look after yourself unconditionally, love yourself and show some compassion. Your feelings are valid, no one can tell you how to feel because no one knows exactly what’s going on in your life or your head. And this is fine. Lean on people for support if you need it, and take time for yourself. You are worthy of a fantastic Christmas, and an even better new year!
The thought of having restrictions in place over Christmas because of the pandemic could cause many of you to feel anxious, annoyed or depressed, and I would be the first to say that I feel the same. To me the idea of Christmas in lockdown seems to suck all the joy out of it. But, there are still many ways you can make the most of the holiday and get into the festive mood.
Here are some of my top tips for staying festive this year.
- Find ways to stay in touch with family and friends. We have all had lots of practice this year getting used to virtual catch-ups, whether they be on Zoom, Teams or FaceTime, so use these to stay in touch with your loved ones with virtual family games nights or carol singing.
- Spread the Christmas spirit to those around you. One of the things I’m doing this year is delivering Christmas cards and mince pies to my neighbours to spread some joy despite the difficult times. This is a great way to put a smile on the faces of those around you and brighten everyone’s holiday.
- Have a carols night. If you love music like me, plan a family carol evening at home. This is a great way to spend time together and is sure to bring some laughter and fun. For those of you who are really creative, why not try and write your own Christmas song and have some fun as a family singing your lyrics?
- Watch some Christmas movies. Despite the predictable plot lines and cheesy moments, for me a Christmas movie can always get you feeling more festive and is a great way to spend an evening with your family in the holidays.
- Dust off your board games and have a technology-free family games night. This is another great way to spend quality time together without getting caught up on your phones.
I know that many of you will still be feeling sad. Maybe you have family that live far away that you can’t see, or maybe this time of year is hard for you anyway without the addition of Covid restrictions. However you are feeling, just remember that it’s ok to feel that way.
It is going to be different this year and don’t beat yourself up for feeling down, because I guarantee you aren’t the only one. Just remember that these feelings don’t need to determine whether you have a good Christmas, and that Christmas can still be a time of celebration. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do this year, focus on the amazing things you can do, and look for the small ways to spread love and joy around you this Christmas.
Where to get help
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