It’s Ok Not to Enjoy Christmas

When I was a teenager I was sitting in my room crying at midnight on Christmas eve. My Mum came in to see why my light was still on and asked me what was wrong.
“I just feel like I’m going to have a terrible time tomorrow because I feel terrible. You’re supposed to enjoy Christmas.”

 
I’d been having a bad time with my mental health for pretty much all of my teen years and along with feeling like shit all the time comes with guilt for not enjoying holidays and family celebrations like I felt I was expected to, and I was feeling that keenly that Christmas eve.

 
Mum said that the holiday season puts unfair expectations on Christmas to be the most amazing day but it’s stressful for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, and I could just work on getting through it. I can’t really remember Christmas that year but I don’t remember it being terrible, it’s as if my mother’s words gave me permission to be not ok allowed me to coast through it with minimal guilt.

 
Mental health problems and other stressors don’t take a break just because it’s Christmas. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is pretend to be grateful for gifts you don’t want, sit through dinner with obnoxious relatives or hear any more of that ghastly Christmas music. But tell yourself it’s ok not to enjoy these things – lots of people don’t – and look toward eating chocolate covered almonds and watching Christmas specials.

 

Mac

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A Spoonie’s Checklist For the Holidays

Well, Christmas is less than a week away. Are you completely prepared? No? That’s ok, neither am I.

 
As well as shopping for gifts and catering it’s important to remember that services shut down over Christmas and the new year so those of us who rely on them need to plan our care around that. This is just a brief checklist of things ypu may need to take care of before everything shuts down. I have to note this is just based off my needs, other spoonie friends may require different services that I don’t know about so I apologise in advance for not mentioning them.

 
So, here is a spoonie’s to do list for the holiday season.

 
1. Don’t leave Christmas shopping to the last minute.
If you have anxiety like me, over crowded shopping centres with stressed out people and no parking spaces coming up to Christmas are like the last thing you want to deal with, which is why I started my shopping in November. Unfortunately I’m not done because Pea kind of left it to the last minute to tell me that he wants me to buy for all of his family – including five nieces and nephews – and he has no idea what they whant. (Men, amirite?) I have bought for most of them so far and hope to knock over the rest today, which will be a huge stressor off my back once I know I don’t have to brave the shopping centres any more.

 
2. Plan your grocery shopping to ensure you have everything you need.
Supermarkets will be shutting for a day, or a few days, depending on where you live, so make a list of everything you need to see you through and stock up, there’s nothing worse than running out of toilet paper on Christmas day. It’s important to remember though it is ONLY for a few days – no need to buy enough toilet paper for a month. If you are catering for Christmas make sure you have everything you need – I never go without a list. Yes the shops are stressful this time of year (see above) but you will feel so much better once you are back home with all your supplies.

 
3. Sort out your scripts.
I haven’t done this yet…shit.
The local pharmacy may close from a few days to a week so if your meds are running low it would be a good idea to fill your scripts now. Two of mine need doing, and I need to dig out the repeats and take them up today.

 
4. Sort out your care plans and referrals for the new year.
Hopefully you’ve already done this but if not, make that appointment now. If made now, you can probably get an appointment early in the new year. I need a new mental health plan, they need doing every cander year. The surgery I work at only closes for three days over Christmas and two days over new year but the number of calls I get from people panicking because they have an appointment with their specialist and they haven’t got an updated referral is frustrating. Make your appointments now.

 
5. Plan for the day.
Nothing gives me anxiety like knowing a big event is coming up but not knowing what I’m doing for it. With two families to juggle between I like to know what I’m doing long in advance. Pea is the complete opposite, and takes a what ever happen, will happen approach. Despite my best efforts he has been reluctant to nail down plans with his family but we got there in the end. If you’re like me, you may want to figure out exactly where you’re going for the day, and rsvp.

 
Hopefully Christmas goes smoothly, and here’s to a healthier new year.

Mac