Christmas stories

……of Christmas past and present

Christmas 2012 – both Christmas Day and Boxing Day them self were stress free, it’s the build up to them that seemed stressful, regardless of how little importance I’ve attached to them over the years, somehow the thought that shops will be shut for two whole days, fills many people, including myself,with panic and by the look on their faces, desperation. One of our comments feedback for an earlier post about general stress, referred to the possibility that some Xmas stress results from feeling  that our gift giving may not have much monetary value compared to those we receive.

For me the convenience of local corner shops and petrol station , although offering only limited food stuffs, at greater expense than the supermarkets, are so convenient. I don’t resent the extra few pennies because they truly deliver a service, I’ve known the shop owners and the take-a-way owners for the 20 plus years I’ve lived in the neighbourhood. This Xmas Day, one was open 8.30.a.m. ,both all day Boxing Day together with the take-a ways, no need to starve, for myself I’m happy to forgo the traditional roast meals until the the bigger shops are open again, or easier still, as I probably will,  have it out! at non Christmas prices. If you have limited time off because of work commitments, feelings of obligation to entertain or be part of other people’s festivities, the pressure is on……of course some find the tradition pleasurable.

I found both days very relaxing and enjoyable, having refused  invites for dinner and wanting to be at home, with flexibility about whether people popped in or shared simple non traditional food. No definite plans were made until the day, the people who came and I, shared a little more of our personal stories, discussed our experience with mental distress and what might contribute to maintaining our well being iin the year to come, there were more philosophical discussions about the complexity of intimate relationships…….as Pa Larkin, ‘Darling buds of May’ and a new found friend frequently says, …perfect! ….yes it was a perfect Christmas….but I still feel a sense of relief that it’s over, possibly that is something to do with my ‘Christmas past’

Boxing Day 1958


looking as if enjoying the festivities, the photograph hides the reality of  troubled lives, two,were affected seriously by mental and emotional distress and the little girl………. went on to be similarly affected, albeit well into mid life, then I could truly sympathise with my brother and mothers experience.I do not hold with the theory,particularly prominent at the time that mental illness ‘ran in families’ …genetic. I have always railed against that idea, I don’t claim to have a clear alternative opinion of the causes or solutions.

Lily P

Christmas Well-being! Thoughts, feelings and numbers to call.

Wishing everyone well this christmas


Maybe because Christmas is *supposed* to be a happy family time is the reason it may be difficult for some, in fact for many!   Whilst some people may be in a position to really enjoy christmas and embrace it, some of us will struggle and others may simply put up with it.

Here are some ideas if it all gets too much !

Christmas is short-lived, it’s just one day or if you count the whole thing it’s a week at the most.   Putting things in perspective is a good idea if you feel any distress.  Remembering that feelings may be heightened during this time and that you’re likely to feel very different once christmas is over is helpful.

Taking a brisk walk and getting some exercise can often make people feel better and help to reduce negative thinking.

Use tricks to distract a troubled mind such as watching a christmas comedy, reading, knitting or doing a crossword. If your thoughts and feelings are escalating and you are struggling to manage them try focussing your mind by using techniques such as counting backwards or playing ‘I went to the shop – the alphabet game’ in your head.  I’ve been there and done it, in fact I think I played the alphabet game for an hour once!

Try to Identify or name your feelings and thought types as they arise and see if this works for you.  When you feel distressed name the feeling or thought,  for example: ‘Anger,’  ‘Sadness, ‘ ‘Loneliness, ‘  ‘catastrophic thinking,’  or ‘jumping to conclusions,’  this can help you to remain objective.

Try not to drink too much alcohol

Remember: It’s just a day, like any other day!

See what’s going on in nature – take a look at the world around you. The photo of the Robin makes me smile, sometimes nature can really help me put things into perspective!

Remember life isn’t perfect.

If you need to talk to someone and feel distressed there are many numbers you can call and people want to help!  The numbers are listed below.


Samaritans:  08457 909090 or email

Dial House is somewhere you can visit if you can’t cope – Open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Call to make an appointment 0113 260 9328 (Leeds)

Connect Helpline: 0808 800 12 12 Provides up to an hour of emotional support by telephone.  Open 6pm -10.30pm every night of the year. (Leeds)

Saneline: 0845 767 8000 1pm – 11pm Offering emotional support and information

NHS Direct; Health advice and information:  0845 4647

Thanks for reading, keep well and warm xx

If you have any  tips or ideas to keep well please leave a comment !

Thanks Vicky 😉