As November continues, Christmas is getting closer and closer. I am mainly aware of this because Christmas adverts are appearing, plus conversations about these adverts, which seem to lead to other conversations about Christmas. Rather than make me excited about the coming festivities, I notice that actually, a lot of these adverts make me quite angry – particularly the messages that I must buy things. You might notice that you get a bit – or very – angry as well, maybe for the same reasons, or perhaps it’s the depictions of family life at Christmas that get to you.
What else comes up for you as Christmas approaches? It’s not an easy time of year for a lot of people: we see all these messages on the media about how we should be spending it, how we should feel, what we should be offering to others. We also have our own histories of Christmas past, and we might also be aware of the histories of people close to us. If a close friend loves Christmas, is there space for you to not love it? You might find yourself building a wall inside you, to protect you from all these difficult feelings and memories.
As Christmas gets nearer, I find myself needing more time outside in nature, where I can observe the cycle of the year amongst the trees, and in the sky. I need to focus on the jewel-like berries on offer to the birds, on the fallen leaves that will become food for next year’s seeds. I can imagine those seeds already under the ground, composting away quietly. Sunrise is later and later, and being able to catch stunning orange skies at the start of the day feels like nourishment to me. These are the adverts I really need to see.
You might find it hard to talk about what you really feel about Christmas, and to share memories of Christmases that weren’t like the ones on the adverts. But sharing these stories and the feelings that come with them can be healing, and exploring them might mean that things move around for you inside, making space for a Christmas that suits you.
A counsellor might be someone you can explore these kinds of issues with, or you might prefer to journal about this time of year. A quiet walk in the woods might be right for you – or a mixture of all three. Taking steps like this, where these feelings are allowed out, and where these stories can be told, might mean that Christmas can feel easier for you in future.
Here are some ideas for making the most of nature for healing: https://www.meditationoasis.com/how-to-meditate/simple-meditations/nature-meditations
Here’s a nice ‘how to’ start journalling: https://www.wikihow.com/Keep-a-Mental-Health-Journal
And if you would like to start counselling, contact me here, or have a look at the BACP Therapist Directory for someone who feels like a good match: https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/how-to-find-a-therapist/