Lucy Spraggan: How I Get Ready for Christmas
Digital team's blog
Oh, Christmas. The time of year where almost everyone is wearing a smile, nostalgia floats around us in the buzz of the colourful lights and the air smells like cinnamon. Why wouldn’t you be happy at this time of year?!
The truth is, Christmas can be one of the hardest times of year for those of us that suffer with mental illness. The stress that comes with the arrangements, the pressure of celebrating in large groups, the expense of it all, (and my least favourite of all) the shopping experience…
I’ve put together a little list of things I do at Christmas to make the whole event a little easier for me when I’m not quite feeling myself.
A good old natter
Christmas can be a great excuse to spend some time with your nearest and dearest, sometimes it’s those friends or family you don’t get to see that often.
I find in those moments of relaxation, after a mince pie (or two), whilst watching TV, sitting on the sofa, there can be some really lovely moments where you can be totally honest about how you feel.
Offloading those feelings you normally keep inside can be such a relief, not just for you, but also for the people who might sometimes worry about you. Sometimes indulging in more than just a mince pie can be very helpful.
Most of the time you can’t tell somebody why you feel the way you do, just that you do feel that way. When I know that I’m going to be around a lot of people who are going to ask a lot of questions I like to prepare a little response; something that makes it clear that I’m not feeling too good, that I am/am not open to talking about it, but something that doesn’t make people feel guilty for having a genuine interest in how I am.
When Grandma asks you why you haven’t got a new job or met that special someone yet, don’t let it send your brain into overdrive. Take a breath and tell her as much as you feel comfortable talking about, or use your ‘safe response’.
I HATE shopping. I struggle with anxiety, so shopping is my least favourite experience. Especially around Christmas.
I start to plan what to get people and where I’m going to get it as early as possible so that I don’t have to put myself in any situation that’s going to stress me out.
With a little bit of planning, this part of Christmas doesn’t have to be too stressful and can actually be quite fun.
PS. Amazon Prime.
Fancy a beer?
No? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Around this time of year I often find myself drinking more than usual; social events, Christmas re-unions and supermarket offers can suck me into overdoing it, which sometimes throws me off kilter.
Right now, I’m taking it easy – a bit of willpower goes a long way when it comes to feeling good mentally… I’ll have a few when I’m feeling better.
As much as I’ve made out that Christmas is made from hell-fire and makes us all feel awful, it’s actually quite nice.
If you can get a chance to put your feet up by the fire and drift off to the songs of praise, do it.
We all need some rest, why not do it on a full belly and somewhere you feel safe.
I’m going to be relaxing with my family-in-law this year and I hope all of you will have a lovely time too. If you’re finding it difficult to speak to your family/friends or you’re feeling alone this Christmas don’t suffer in silence, get in touch and seek some advice – you matter, truly.
You can take a look at Lucy Spraggan's songs on her YouTube, or follow her for regular updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Lucy Spraggan will be releasing her new album, I Hope You Don't Mind Me Writing, in January 2017 which is available here, and she will also be going on tour in March!
Here is our favourite song...