Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters: end of year blues, the festive season

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A few words on Christmas, New Year, and the season where we’re all supposed to be jolly, no matter what we’re feeling…

How’s your year been?

It seems fitting, this being the last entry of the year in the series, to deal with the elephant in the room. The holiday season, Christmas, new year, lots of joyful things for some all wrapped up in a couple of weeks.

But it’s not a joyful time for all. I’m surrounded by people who have had a year that you could comfortably call ‘testing’, ‘challenging’, or even ‘downright horrible’. Life goes in waves usually, so not every year for most is awful. Yet I know I’m not the only one who feels like they’re dragging themselves over the line this year. If that’s you too, the best I can really offer is some solidarity.

Also though, it’s worth chatting about the expectation at this time of year. The societal demand to be happy, cheery, full of the joys. If you’re not? Well, you’re a misery, a Scrooge. It’s a little bit of a game that’s played this time of year, isn’t it?

You really don’t need to play along though.

I’m not advocating going out of our way to be grumpy or anything like that. But neither am I suggesting it’s a good idea to bury everything we’re feeling. It’s really important at this time of year, I think, just to carve some truth and some time.

I’m coming to the end of a year trying to find a few more smiles this Christmas and New Year. Really hoping that there’s a degree of breathing out, and finding some fun.

But I’m also being realistic with myself, and knowing that it’s okay if I can’t find that. That if I’m having a bad day, I’m probably better off admitting that to myself rather than trying to cloak it. That way, I’ll try and buy myself ten minutes here and there, and hopefully be better for the people around me. I do worry about that a lot.

If you struggle, particularly around now, then please try and do the same. Please try and find yourself just a bit of space, a bit of you time. Perhaps even just popping out for a walk, or removing yourself from the same environment. Anything that you know can help you.

This column will continue to run throughout 2024. Lots of us are having struggles, and as always, there’ll be no miracle cures in the words here. Yet there will be acknowledgement that the world can be a sod, and there will be a space to chat about all of this. Hopefully it’s something. But more than that, I hope that you find some happiness, some light, and some joy.

Take care all, and thank you for reading.

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