Many of us having been white knuckling our way through 2020.
There is much merit in the ethos of “when you are going through hell, keep going” but it has been tough at times to know how.
For some the idea of a family Christmas has been a great boost to flagging morale. A lot of energy can be gained from having a happy event to plan. The longed-for hugs and human connection may replenish many depleted hearts.
This is not the case for everyone. At TRC we can empathise with those who do not look forward to Christmas in the best of times. Special events can be reminders of loss and triggers for painful memories. Enforced time with family can mean that duty to others takes priority over care of self.
Even those who are looking forward to the festivities may find that after such a tiring and difficult year it is hard to muster up the enthusiasm and jolliness that seems compulsory.
So perhaps, a little time to pause and reflect – rather than keeping on going would not be such a bad idea after all.
Use this time to reset and refresh so that we are able to connect to our loved ones and to ground ourselves, enabling us to feel a little more prepared to face the challenges.
I am going to spend this weekend with my pencil and paper at the ready and ask myself the following. Perhaps you could do the same:
How do I feel about this year? – Let rip, don’t hold back, be honest and allow the full spectrum of feeling to have a voice.
What do I feel grateful for this year?
What have I learned?
What can I let go of?
How do I feel right now?
What makes me ‘me’ right now? – This is a lovely grounding exercise that is really helpful to prepare for situations where we may feel triggered. It can be good to say the answers to yourself if you feel you are getting caught up in past memories or anxiety. Some example answers from me and others “My feet are size 6 and I have a wonky toe” “I am studying History at Edinburgh University” “I can drive a car and my car keys are in my bag” “I have new jeans and I love wearing them”
What intention can I set for myself for Christmas? – Specific goals can be good if they work for you and are feasible. I prefer a more general intention that I can remind myself of periodically like a mantra, e.g. take a breath, be kind, slow down.
At TRC we always have a pre-Christmas group where we share with each other where we will be spending the holiday and what the challenges are that we may face. It is a chance to strengthen our connections and for us to encourage each other to use all the resources and skills we have available to us. Knowing that someone is thinking about us and sharing the hope that we will be well is another thing to add to the gratitude list.
Wherever you are in the world, we wish you well and a very Happy Christmas.
Author: Michelle Scott
Psychotherapist & Eating Disorder Specialist MSc BSc RMHN (Reg MBACP)