Now we are into December,  I thought I would write about something that is not often talked about, or if it is, we might open ourselves to being targeted by others with words like Scrooge. That’s right.. what does it really mean if we dislike the winter holiday season?

Do we always have to be happy at holiday time? For some of us it can sound like an instruction, even a rule.  

It seems that we may feel we have to be quiet or whisper about our discomfort with the whole event. That our true feelings would not be accepted by others, or that we might ‘bring them down’.  However, for some people it really is a horrible time of the year, a time that reminds them of loss, grief, loneliness, of all the things they might desire but do not have. A time of rush and anxiety and panic and bustle and noise. Perhaps in that desire to fit in or maybe just to be liked, we can spend money on gifts that we can’t really afford so ending the year in debt.

It can feel like a time of pretence. Perhaps we feel it most at the office party, putting on a smile and having  drinks with colleagues we don’t really like.  Or spending a lot of time with relatives who after a sherry or two start to relate to us in ways which damage our sense of wellbeing and worth and yet we are meant to carry on and smile through it. To deny the impact that it has on us. It’s the season to be jolly after all.  If we try to go along with it and fake it, then sooner or later it will take its toll – it is exhausting to wear a mask all the time! It is little wonder the body collapses under the stress of it all and we end up a reduced immune system and colds/flu etc.

For people who have an alcohol dependence or addiction, it can be a really difficult time of year, temptation everywhere, the supermarkets at every turn have endless offers of alcohol of every description. And we can risk of  being labelled the party pooper by friends and family because we won’t join in the ‘fun’ and choose to stay sober and protect our recovery.

So if for any reason this season isn’t jolly for you, try to find calm and relaxing activities that you enjoy. Find and claim some time away from the chaos of it all. It isn’t selfish to take some time for you and listen to your needs. And like all things, it shall soon pass and it will be time to welcome in a new year, a fresh start and new beginnings.

If you are finding the holiday season too much to bear, a counsellor can help you off load, help you to identify ways to manage the stress and will accept unconditionally how you really feel so that you can lower the mask and be seen. It can also help you find the resilience to cope through the next few weeks.

So to answer my initial question about what it means about us if we don’t like the winter holiday period? Well it  certainly doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you and you are not Scrooge (unless you choose to be). It is a genuine and authentic response. Warm wishes x

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