I think Christmas is a difficult time, at a simple level I am frustrated and cross that one day attracts such excess and materialism and the day is exploited by capitalism
Then there is the pressure of buying presents and so much food. I especially struggle with the ‘panic’ that Christmas seems to generate in my family and the rat-tat-tat of quick fire questions about presents, food and seeing each other. I know it is only because people want it to be perfect, but it feeds my anxiety and my sense of being overwhelmed – which then impacts on me trying to get things done.
I struggle with the conflict of the pressure of socialising with family, which on the one hand I want to do and the fact my anxiety gets the better of me and I get overwhelmed and then grumpy which upsets those around me. My Christmas is spent trying not to upset people.
I have mixed feelings about Christmas cards received from old friends who want to know how I am and remind me of the difficult times in the past that have got me to where I am today.
That said I am getting better at manging myself over the Christmas period. I make sure I have my music and headphones, to escape with, I want to go for walks more often and my wife knows I may disappear / take myself away for a while and now even encourages me if she spots I am finding it too much. I think my family are used to me disappearing so it is becoming more of the normal.
A big change for me this year is that I am now better at accepting that I am not responsible. So between us the food will get cooked and guests entertained, but I am not solely responsible for this.
I definitely find Christmas easier at home, it feels safer but then we go away for a few days on Boxing Day which I find difficult with more pressure.
I notice the noise gets to me, but I know if it gets too much I just take myself away from it all for a while, use my breathing exercises, maybe read a book or go for a walk and listen to music.
I hope people can enjoy the seasonal holidays – good luck!