Christmas is generally idealised as the perfect jolly time for all. Except the reality, is that for many it’s incredibly difficult. There’s a number of reasons why people find it a tough time – It may be due to the fact you’ve suffered loss, you may feel lonely, you might be suffering illness, you may have unhealthy or troubled relationships or like me, you may be battling Mental Health issues.

I’ve decided to share this post for two reasons. Firstly, for those who may not realise it can be tricky, and secondly, for those who know the struggle, to remind you that you’re not alone.

It’s not an easy topic to cover, but I just want to raise awareness on the matter. Therefore, I thought I’d give a few pointers on how to help from both sides.

Please note: I’m looking at this from a perspective of having anxiety, so this may not ring true for everyone but I’m trying to make it as generalised as possible.  

If you’re on the outside looking in, here’s a few tips on how to help…

  1. Be there – Please just support us through this time we find difficult. Just follow our requests, and make subtle gestures to show you care. We don’t ask for much, just to be reminded that you care so our struggle feels less scary.
  2. Give us space – Sometimes it’s all we need. We want to be jolly and spend time with you, but at times it can be incredibly overwhelming. Therefore, sometimes we just need a little moment or two to ourselves. Let us have it.
  3. Don’t pressure us – Ultimately, if you try to will us into something we don’t want to do or feel comfortable with; we will find it 10x harder. Ask us nicely, and respect our choices if we don’t want to go out/get involved in a particular game/eat a certain food etc.
  4. Forgive us, we still love you – Please just understand we apologise for the way we are, but we are trying our best. We do love you, a lot. It’s just not always easy for us to show due to our own inner-turmoil.

If you’re struggling, here’s a few reminders…

  1. Breathe. – It sounds so simple but just remember to take deep breaths.
  2. Don’t feel forced – We shouldn’t be pressured into anything. It’s okay to say no, and we should be respected in our decisions.
  3. Allow yourself comfort – Just make sure you’re as comfortable as can be, Christmas should be for relaxing and enjoying yourself. Don’t feel guilty for not ticking off a to-do list or eating junk food.
  4. Surround yourself with positivity – Try as best you can to surround yourself with your loved ones, and hopefully your day will be a positive one. If the company you’re with isn’t the best for you, try to find a friend/other family to message, or join Twitter’s #JoinIn hashtag – as created by British comedian Sarah Millican, where you find yourself conversing with strangers in a similar situation to you. It’s a wonderful idea, that works well.
  5. You are not alone – Always remember this. Whatever your circumstance, it can feel terribly isolating, but know you are not alone, and that there are many people who love you, so keep fighting. It’ll all have come and gone before you know it.

Finally, just take care of one another and try to appreciate the season for what it is. If you get a break from work, rest up and enjoy it. If you don’t, you’re a trooper and your break will come soon. I hope you all get the Merry Christmas and Happy New Year you deserve. If it isn’t, just remember, it’s all temporary and it will pass. Things will always get better. Stay strong, and big hugs to all of you.