Here we are, in Advent, with Christmas fast approaching. Lights and decorations are popping up everywhere. It may not be our usual Christmas experience this year, but the festive season is definitely in the air.
I’ve been reflecting on how it is that putting up decorations, and focusing on one day at the end of the month can so drastically change moods and states of mind. For some people, it’s a time of cheer and excitement, of anticipation and joy, a time that is relished and savoured. For others, it’s a time of stress, anxiety and worry, with expectations of things being a particular way, and a sense of needing to please or fulfill, and a fear of disappointing. For yet others, it’s a heart-breakingly sad time of year, with poignant reflections on loss, loneliness and absence. For some, it’s all three rolled into one.
I don’t know another time of year that evokes such a powerful response in so many people. As a psychotherapist, it’s a challenging time of year as clients each work through their own responses, and we hold this alongside our own family and social contexts.
It seems important to be mindful of what christmas and the winter festive season means to you personally, and to give thought to what you want to have happen this year, given the constraints you face compared to years gone past. What really matters? What will bring peace and love to the fore? How can you embody the spirit of christmas in a way that resonates and feels right for you and those around you?
If you find this time of year tough you are far from alone. It’s helpful to be real about it, and to reach out to people you trust to help you through. If it’s right for you, you may also want to enlist some professional help, after all, this time of year can really highlight things that are there all year, but that at other times it’s easier to gloss over.