Tackling Sadness at Christmas

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

How are we supposed to be feeling?


Well, it’s pretty hard to ignore it now - 2020 is finally coming to an end and the Festive Season is fast approaching.


And it seems that everywhere we look there are reminders of this:

  • Shops are filled with decorations and sounds of Christmas carols

  • Catalogues promote “bargains” and tempt us to buy gifts

  • We see images of long, hot lazy days by the beach - everyone having fun with friends and family; smiling, eating and relaxing

So, we all know how we’re “supposed” to be feeling at this time of year – right?


But what if you’re not filled with the joys of the season?


Not All Comfort and Joy?


The Festive Season can be a difficult time for many people - if you’re feeling sad at this time of year, you’re definitely not alone. Because for some of us, it can be a lonely and isolating time:


All the seasonal images may rekindle feelings of sadness for bygone times, a bereavement, or the breakdown of a relationship.


We may be estranged from family members, or be separated over long distances from the people we love and care about.


And even if the holidays disrupt many of our usual routines and social connections, this can also highlight feelings of loneliness.


For example- simple changes such as not going to work or having work colleagues on leave, our social group having a break, or even our regular TV schedule being changed can trigger emotions of isolation and sadness.


And as the year closes, we may also begin to reflect on our unfulfilled hopes and the dreams we committed to earlier in the year.




Facing Up to Feelings


So, what can you do if you’re feeling sad this Christmas?


First-off, it’s important to acknowledge that living a meaningful life will always involve experiencing a whole range of emotions.


Painful things happen to all of us and sadness is a normal, natural response.


Experiencing emotions is a sign that you are a normal human being - but that’s not to say that you just have to cope and “Ride it Out.”


Because as a human being, you always have choices about the things that you do.


However, if sadness is left unchecked, it can become overwhelming.


So, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and think about the things you can do to take care of yourself.


Practical Steps


Start by thinking about what’s possible – and what’s something you might enjoy?

  • Is there a way you would like to honour the memory of someone special? Prepare their favourite meal, share a story about them with others, or write in your journal

  • Do you want to be on your own, or do you want company? Maybe a little bit of both?

  • Can you plan to spend time in a place that brings you comfort? The beach, the forest, the river?

  • Can you spend time outdoors?

  • Can you plan to eat some special foods?

  • Can you make a special playlist of music that you enjoy?

  • Can you find out who else might be around?

  • Is there a neighbour who may also be on their own?

  • Can you volunteer to help out others who may be needing company or support at this time?


Planning for Support


And if on the day itself, it all becomes overwhelming – what’s the plan?


Do you know who you can call if you need to speak to someone?


It can be a good idea to have a written plan – maybe stick it on the fridge or near the phone.


Think about a few people who you know are likely to be around and have their contact details handy.


But sometimes it can be more helpful to speak to someone who is empathic, non-judgmental and not directly involved in your life.


Speak with Linda

If you're concerned that you will be overwhelmed by loneliness or sadness, have a chat or make an appointment with Linda Mitten. Linda offers In-Person Individual Adult Counselling in Port Macquarie and Tele-Counselling via Zoom.

Crisis Support


Here is a few helpful support helplines. Keep them handy.


Lifeline

www.lifeline.org.au 13 11 14

Lifeline has a 24/7 confidential crisis support service. Trained volunteers are available to listen and provide support and referrals. There is also an online support chat from 7pm to 12am, 7 days a week. Please note that the online chat should not be used in a crisis situation, please call the telephone helpline instead.


General Mental Health

Beyondblue Support Service – www.beyondblue.org.au 1300 224 636

The Beyondblue Support Service offers confidential online (3pm-12am/7 days) and telephone (24hr/7days) counselling, support and referrals from trained professionals.


MensLine

www.mensline.org.au 1300 78 99 78

MensLine Australia offers a confidential telephone (24hrs/7day) and online (4pm-10pm/7days) support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns. The service is staffed by qualified professionals experienced in men’s issues.


NSW Mental Health Line

Tel: 1800 011 511

The NSW Mental Health Line is a 24/7 telephone assessment and referral service, staffed by mental health clinicians. This service can provide advice about clinical symptoms, the urgency of the need for care and information about local service providers.