Christmas can be a really difficult time of the year. It brings with it a lot of demand and expectations. It’s exhausting and lonely for some.
I am conscious of the fact that there will be many parents spending their Christmas alone with their kids and no other adults - and that brings with it a different kind of loneliness.
Yes, you love your child or children and are happy to be with them. While you are busy tending to their needs, please remember that you have needs and wants of your own.
Here are some suggestions on how to meet your own needs:
- Sleep well – it can be all too easy to stay awake and be consumed by your feelings and thoughts. Instead try and get an early night. Plan a good bedtime routine that you look forward to and relaxes you. Lack of sleep can mean we have low energy and low mood.
- Celebrate you - if at all possible, get up before your children and spend some quality time with yourself. Listen to your favourite music, have chocolate for breakfast, have a quick kitchen dance, light a scented candle with your favourite smell and just take that moment to be with yourself. You might want to take that moment to also reflect on all you have achieved this year, how well you have done. Your mind may wander to the things that went wrong but bring it back to the positive. If it’s not possible to wake up before the kids, because it is Christmas after all, do it after they go to sleep.
- Stay connected – arrange a time to connect with different loved ones, perhaps space it out during the day. As well as talking, plan something fun to do in that call. It could be an online game or telling each other the best memories you have together. You could also connect with an online community prior to the day. Think of something that you are interested in and I am sure you will find a Facebook group for it. Join it and be active in the group to make connections.
- Plan an outdoor walk with the kids – fresh air and exercise does wonders for our brain and mood. It may be tempting to stay indoors and eat, sleep, drink. But do try and go for at least a quick 20 minutes walk.
- Journaling - writing down your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic and helpful, particularly at times when you feel lonely. It helps you connect with your emotions and gain a deeper understanding of yourself. It can also be good to look back at it at a later date and see how things have changed.
- Looking forward – plan something to look forward to after Christmas. It could be a treat, seeing friends outdoors, children going back to school, a movie. Keep it in mind as something to motivate you.
Remember that you are resilient. You can do hard things. And to your child or children you are super parent and simply the best. Enjoy the time with them and find time for yourself. This too shall pass.
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Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.