Oh Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it? While a favourite for many, the festive season tends to put a lot of (unneccessary) pressure on us too, so if that sounds relatable, I’m here to try and take some of the weight off for you.

Christmastime is exciting, with all the holiday music, time spent with loved ones, gatherings, gifts, beautiful lights and decorations… but for many, it can also be a very low time. Financial strain, loss, trauma, less-than-jolly memories, illnesses, injuries, or life issues (because these things don’t get put on hold for the holidays), perhaps more socialising than one might be up for, the stress of buying gifts and fitting in all the plans people around you are trying to make… these things can all have a negative effect on our mental health. And there’s also what I like to call the “social media pressure” too – that picture perfect family Christmas photo; a deceiving standard that’s set high up on a pedestal and gives us false hope and unrealistic expectations.

What is Christmas really all about? Birth of Jesus aside – it’s about hope. So I think that no matter what everyone is going through, we can all try to take a moment to be thankful for what we have (especially the simple things), and find a bit of hope for the new year.

And remember that no matter what you’re going through or how you’re spending the holidays… it’s okay.

It’s okay if your tree isn’t buried in gifts.

It’s okay if you’re anxious about the gifts you or your children will receive.

It’s okay if your house isn’t an insta-perfect Christmas village filled with beautiful garlands and twinkling lights.

It’s okay if you don’t have a home bustling with all your loved ones.

It’s okay if deep down you’re dreading family reunions.

It’s okay if you don’t have a beautiful family photo with cute matching PJs.

It’s okay if you hate how packed your calendar suddenly is.

It’s okay if you don’t go to every possible event or activity in town.

It’s okay if you’re not on good terms with someone you were previously close to.

It’s okay if you change plans or miss out on events to take care of yourself.

It’s okay if things don’t go the way you hoped or planned they would.

It’s okay if you’re exhausted and bummed that you’re stuck working during the holidays.

It’s okay if your life isn’t perfect – because no one’s is. Even though it may seem that way.

It’s okay if you’re not where you thought you’d be in life by now.

It’s okay if Christmas will never be the same since the loss of a loved one.

It’s okay if you gain some weight.

It’s okay if you don’t have a grand Christmas meal.

It’s okay if you’re resentful about a situation you may be facing.

It’s okay if you’re far away from your loved ones.

It’s okay if the whole idea of Christmas overwhelms you and stresses you out.

It’s okay if you’re not okay.

Whatever it is that may be bringing you down, please do reach out and talk about it. To a friend, to a therapist, or heck, even to me.

There’s always someone to listen. And you are worth being listened to. I promise.

And let’s also remember to be extra kind and respectful. Not just to those around us, but also to ourselves.

Wishing you all hope, love, and light this festive season and beyond.

Until next time,

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