I’m not feeling very festive this year. I have handled the holiday period better over the last three years than I am this year. I feel tearful and it doesn’t take very much at all for me to fold in a watery heap!
I spoke to a friend about this yesterday; a friend who has lost someone very close to her. She explained that for the first two or three years you steel yourself well in advance because you know that it is going to be an horrendous time. Having prepared yourself, you are hugely surprised when you come out the other side relatively unscathed and you are even a little proud of yourself for coping so well! Four, five, six years on you become a little complacent and don’t spend the time preparing like you did. This is when it sneaks up and bites you on the bum!
I find that I am anxious this year; tummy churning with a need to breathe deeply every few minutes. The old familiar ‘weight on the chest’ has returned with a vengeance. I am unable to relax, find sleeping difficult, feel a sense of panic without really knowing why, have difficulty concentrating and to top it all off, I am irritable!
I have been told that a good coping mechanism for these low spells is to distract yourself. This distraction must involve some physical movement, not just a change in your pattern of thought. Change of thought has a habit of leading you straight back to the same place again. The idea is to get up and make a coffee, hoover the lounge, change the beds, walk the dog, go to the loo, even the simple act of applying hand cream can help to make that all too valuable shift in thought so I am told.
I posted a notice on Facebook today.
“Never apologise for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength”. Brigitte Nicole.
This may or may not be true but there are times when trying to hide emotion is stifling and far from helpful. A good cry never hurt anyone although sitting at work crying your eyes out opens yourself and others to a good dose of embarrassment!
Anxiety can cause our brains to misinterpret or exaggerate minor events and turn them into major disasters. As I’ve said previously, if you give in to sadness, anger or anxiety first thing in the morning, your day tends to go from bad to worse. This is when you bring distraction into play. Relaxation techniques like meditation can be very useful if you can control yours fears long enough to still your mind. This wonderful mindfulness technique using adult-colouring books works a treat for me.
People tell me that eating a healthy diet and participating in regular exercise influences all aspects of life. Apparently a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle habits can contribute significantly to anxiety management and prevention! I’m not convinced that avoiding alcohol, caffeine, salt, sugar and refined foods is going to help me deal with my anxiety and grief this Christmas! The only thing keeping me going is the thought of a Champagne breakfast with plenty of bacon, berries drizzled in chocolate, rare roast beef, glazed hams, pavlovas, trifles, wine, BBQs, liqueurs, cocktails……………oh my goodness who would swap these things for a healthy diet?
Exercise? At Christmas? Well, wouldn’t you know it? The gym’s shut and too many cars on the road to take my bike out. I might find myself walking a lot more than usual though – to the fridge and back!
What started as a perfectly sensible, level-headed blog is now turning into custard.
Just a thought for Christmas – a hug is the perfect gift; one size fits all, and we are all happy to exchange them x