Psychology

Is it the season to be Jolly?

Christmas Fever or Fever from Christmas?


During this festive season, we are all surrounded by Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, shopping centres selling a variety of gifts to enhance our festive spirit. We do so, to take care of the collective wellbeing but, is this really everyone’s cup of tea? 

This is very subjective and depends on the person’s character, past experience, current life experiences and personality.

The answer is one and clear: NO! 

Many get into the Christmas spirit by participating in festive get-togethers, shopping gifts for their loved ones, decorating their homes and workplaces, singing to Christmas classics and so forth. However, there is a segment of people who are on the other end of this continuum. The trigger factors are varied: some experience loss of a dear one during Christmas period, others are currently going through a rough patch in their relationships or marriages or even healthwise. Others may already experience personality or psychiatric predispositions which can make festive seasons even worse: 

These are people who actually not only dislike Christmas, but they feel very sad, low and even depressed during this period. Some may experience this jolly period as a threat to their wellbeing. They feel that society imposes on them to feel cheerful and happy, however, they feel very different.

This difference in what they feel to what is expected out of them creates a barrier, resulting in them to feel very isolated and emotionally lonely. The more they feel emotionally isolated, the more they feel the need to escape from this joyful period, even though they can be in a place surrounded by many people.

Escaping can take different forms. Some just decide not to attend activities and events, others refuse to decorate their homes and there are others who feel the need to escape life altogether until this Christmas period is over. Some people may think that this is a way for people to get attention. However, this is usually not the case at all. 

Suggestions

If you feel that you are feeling emotionally unwell during the festive period, please do seek professional help. There are many qualified counsellors, psychotherapists, family therapist and psychologists who can help you to deal with this suffering and who can support you. Remember that the first step is always the hardest!

If you know someone who is going through a rough time during the festive season, you can be of great support: 

First, you need to put aside your ideas and theories and be ready to listen without judgment. Listen to their pain and complaint without the need of suggesting anything. 

A hug or holding hands can be very powerful, of course, you always need to check with the person first or look for physical cues.  This is known as holding the person

Invite your friends over: You can suggest the person to come over for lunch or dinner or even a cup of tea but only invite very few people or do not invite anyone else at all, as they may feel overwhelmed around people who are cheering. 

Visit your friends at their homes: If your friends refuse to come over, another idea would be to visit the people who are feeling lonely in their own home. That way they will not even need to make the effort of dressing up, looking presentable, driving and finding parking, and going into someone else’s house which may be heavily decorated and full of people. They can actually stay in their home clothes if that is what they wish. If they allow a person to visit them in their own house, probably they may feel more comfortable and literally “at home” the person who is visiting can bring a small gift like some Christmas tea or sweets and they can really be emphatic by also surrounding themselves with the other person’s home environment.

This could work with those that don’t wish to attend Christmas activities, but some may prefer leaving their home and going out, especially if the house is holding memories which are bringing them down. It is still good to invite them to activities but if they refuse then visiting them could be a Plan B

You may also carefully support them to make the first step and perhaps seek professional advice.

Let’s all really embrace what this festive season is about but caring more for each other and instead of just focusing on us, we try to put ourselves in someone’s else shoe. By putting aside all our differences, we can all be supportive of one another and experience the true sense of Christmas. 

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