RESPONSIBILITY: It’s not our job to make sure friends and family have the perfect Christmas. We are all responsible for our own lives. Our job is to make sure we have the Christmas we want. Friends and family are responsible for their own Christmas. Likewise, share the chores out,you don’t have to do everything yourself whilst everyone else sits in front of the telly.
EXPECTATIONS: The TV and social media often show the ‘perfect Christmas’ but that’s not reality, that’s just make believe to get us to buy more stuff. Our perfect Christmas is what is right for us. If we worry about our Christmas being ‘perfect’ then we will never be happy and be constantly stressed. Relax and accept that whatever our version of Christmas is, that’s the perfect Christmas for us to enjoy.
ROUTINE: It’s important we keep to our usual routines as much as possible over Christmas. Our routine is what keeps us grounded, it’s our bedrock and foundation to good mental health. So try and get up and go to bed at the same time you usually do. If your gyms or clubs/groups are open, then keep going to them and if not maybe try and fit in a walk when you would normally go to keep your routine running through Christmas.
TIME OUT: Christmas pressure can seem relentless, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, socialising and meeting with all the relatives etc. It can all seem never ending. Try and make a bit of time everyday that is just for you. You could go for a walk, go to the bedroom and listen to music, or have a long bath. Anything that can help you unwind a little bit and take the pressure off.
CONNECTION: Not all of us have relatives or friends we can see at Christmas and it can be a lonely and isolated time. Try and make some time every day to just ring or text someone. There are groups open on Christmas day itself if you don’t want to be alone or maybe you could volunteer over Christmas. Keeping connected to other people is extra important at Christmas.
BOUNDARIES: We all have boundaries.When people cross these boundaries it can make us feel frustrated, angry or even scared. A boundary is something that someone else does that means we don’t feel safe or happy, they can be anything like smoking in the house, making too much noise at night, not doing the washing etc. It can sometimes help to have a quiet and positive chat with each other at Christmas to come up with ‘rule’s’for all surviving Christmas together. Decide together and make a list, you could all agree to not make noise after 11pm or too take turns doing the washing up etc. This way you all know what each other's boundaries are and can work together to stop getting on top of one another over Christmas.
DRINK & DRUGS: Alcohol and other drugs aren’t magic substances. They can’t turn a bad Christmas into a good Christmas, they can only make a bad situation worse. There’s a myth that says everyone has a drink at Christmas. It might be a surprise to learn that the majority of people (60%) either drink nothing or only have one or two drinks at Christmas. If you are going to have a drink, maybe think about having just a glass or two of something special that you like and the rest of the time get some nice soft drinks in. It’ll save the arguments, the hangovers, the not being able to drive, and a lot of money this Christmas.
If you are deciding not to drink or use substances this Christmas it doesn’t mean we go without treats. Make sure everyone else knows you aren’t drinking/using to stop any awkward moments with them offering anything to you and make sure you have a stock of something nice in just for you (soft drinks, chocolates etc.). It also means we get to feel great and refreshed whilst others are still in bed hungover or coming down.
Please also see the "Staying Safe and Keeping Well" booklet which can be downloaded from here: