Surviving Christmas

I wrote this post for a work blog but unfortunately it wasn’t published. So I thought I’d share it here instead, rather than waste it. I guess the sentiment stands, wherever I place it, right? 


❄️❄️❄️

Oh Christmas. A magical time for all, where everything twinkles and shines just that little bit brighter. Eggnog flows like water, chocolate waits tantalisingly to be devoured (usually for breakfast) and there is no pain anywhere.

If only.

Firstly, the festive season is s-t-r-e-s-s-f-u-l. Financially, socially, mentally – it can do a number on you in so many different ways, sometimes in ways you’ve never considered. I personally feel burnt out already just by the sheer amount of social engagements I’ve had (I know, boo hoo). Don’t get me started on the damage I’ve done with my debit card. So from the offset the magic can come at a price but we do it because it’s Christmas and we love our loved ones. Some of us adore this time of year and that’s cool too.

But Christmas can also be a challenging time for mental health and it’s important to acknowledge this. Every person has the right to take care of themselves during this period, even when they’re at home. If being with family isn’t the right thing for your wellbeing then that is fine, the modern set-up is often an extension of what we’ve always known and friends are the new family to many. As the clock ticks down to Santa’s visit, remember:

You don’t have to spend Christmas with your family

As above if this is a toxic place for you, you don’t have to do it.

If it all gets too much

Take yourself out of the situation. Absolutely nobody can give you grief for going to your room to read a book for an hour or having a hot bath in the middle of the afternoon. You know yourself better than anyone, so listen to your instincts.

Ask for help

I’m the worst when it comes to cooking the Christmas dinner. I do not know how to ask for help and end up sweaty and stressed in the kitchen, snapping at anyone who tries to intervene. Asking for help does not make you a failure; it just takes some of the pressure off. In fact, if you can write a list and make notes about who can do what, you’re laughing. Plus, if you cooked – it is against the law for you to wash up as well. Just saying.

Mind the booze

I’m not going to lecture anyone about their alcoholic intake but it is so tempting to turn to the buck’s fizz (or harder) to deal with Christmas Day. Alcohol is a depressant though and can leave you feeling low. Not to mention the Christmas morning/Boxing Day hangovers so sometimes it’s good to pace yourself.

Get some air

If you need to get out then get out! Nobody has ever regretted leaving the house for a spot of fresh air, let’s face it. Except maybe Dorothy Gale.

If it’s not perfect, tough

This is my new mantra, as I worry about presents, whether I’ve spend enough and that each gift is perfectly wrapped with a tartan bow. If everything is not just so then what’s the worst that can happen? The world will not implode. One year I forgot the stuffing and I’m still here to tell the tale, painful as it still is.

I am the gift and so are you

Your loved ones just want to be with you, I promise. For all the gifts and the going out, what really matters is the being together. And lots and lots of lovely cheese.

So from me to you, have a lovely Christmas and please take care of yourselves. 

The Ex Factor

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This headline popped up in my inbox this morning: “Facebook begins testing tools to let people manage interactions with exes” and, to paraphrase Miss Carrie Bradshaw, it got me to thinking.

Obviously, before I pour vitriol all over this post, I have to say that I understand this is meant to be a good thing. Apparently it will allow people to hide each other without unfriending or unfollowing. So your ex can post pictures of his/her new love to his/her hearts content and you won’t be able to see it, no siree.

Heaven forbid that you hurt his/her feelings by kicking him/her off your newsfeed though, amiright?

‘Course it works both ways and might leave you feeling more relaxed if you’re the one moving on, leaving the person you used to love in your dust.

I am friends with a few exes. But when I say ex I mean there was a certain degree of interaction and one of them almost broke my heart, but these were never long term loves, nor life ruiners. One of them has revealed himself to be racist so has been swiftly removed but for the most part I’ve picked well in the past and they can stay.

But I don’t need advice on how to deal with my significant ex because he’s lower than low and therefore has no part in my present. It’s bad enough that I still bear the (emotional) scars of years walking on eggshells and years believing I was nothing and nobody because he make me feel that way.

If it hadn’t made me who I am now, I would hit delete on our shared past quicker that it just took me to type the word delete. The thought of ever accidentally bumping into him (I hear he lives in the next town over) fills me with pant-soiling fear. I don’t know what I’d do beyond running as fast I could in the opposite direction. Cry hard. Buy an 8 pack of Brillo pads and scour my skin until it bled, that sort of thing.

It’s not always healthy to try to make people feel good above your own well-being, to always be the bigger person or to take things graciously (and I have to take my own advice here). There are valid reasons for why people despise their exes and I don’t think FB can help you with those. Then again, it’s doubtful you’d still be friends on social media.

I think, block those fuckers and move on, loves. Try not to give them the power they need to thrive. Try and forget. Try and move on, and protect yourself. Trust me, you’ve got plenty of friends so don’t have to be friends with everyone you’ve ever dated.

That’s my view and I know I’m massively biased. I know many people look at this topic very differently and what works for them, works for me.

It’s just you know, I’m still angry.

Dream Weaver

tumblr_nrupgrR0VI1qiww0to1_500I’ve been having the most bizarre and vivid dreams lately. Perhaps it’s not that surprising given all the human centipedes, creeps and Sensates (not to mention, vengeful feminist vampire teens) I’ve exposed myself to in recent weeks, but still.

Maybe it’s more to do with eating ice cream right before bed, three evenings in a row?

Whatever it is, I’ve been spending my nights roaming the woods with my crossbow (last night), leading an apocalypse survivors gang (night before) and rushing around Disneyland Paris (specifically a new Monsters Inc themed park), trying to find a phone to call work and tell them I’m going to be late (Monday).

Every morning this week I have woken up relieved be in my own bed and not lost in the wilderness. What’s going on, yo? It’s getting exhausting!

Of course these are good old fashioned anxiety dreams, everybody has them from time to time. There are the usual everyday bits and bobs going on, some existential shit such as “What’s it all about?” and the “I need a new job” shiz, but nothing more than normal, or out of the ordinary.

So why am I ferociously fighting for my life, or to get to the office on time, in almost all dreams? Perhaps my inner wall flower gets her best work done subconsciously. Maybe biting my damn tongue all time is finally getting to me and this is my outlet (I’m trying not to be the apologetic/overly diplomatic one all the time).

Whatever the answer is, I’m sure I’ll be doing the same thing tonight. Perhaps I should start paying more attention on these adventures, they’d make great films.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.