Louise Thompson: Share the joy
It’s not too soon to talk Christmas lunch, is it? My tree is already up, so I reckon it’s fair game. It’s got political over the years has Christmas lunch. Who is hosting, where, what’s to be eaten, arrival times, gift expectations, who is doing the washing up, how soon is it impolite to leave . . . I was going to write about that but then I thought you are smart people, you can figure that out. Let’s talk about something that probably won’t be covered: loss at Christmas.
Christmas is generally the most joyful time of year, but for someone going through a hard time, it’s the bleakest. There is something unbelievably emotionally polarising about the festive season. There is nothing like being expected to be happy and jolly to focus the mind on what has been lost. It is a cruel truth at Yule that for each person bemoaning how many presents they have to buy or wrap, someone else would dearly love to have that special someone to buy for. And, for everyone who loves it from tinsel to turkey, there is someone who simply can’t wait for it to be over.
Family circumstances change all the time. Death, separation, divorce, estrangement, addiction, depression, emigration. When a season is all about family this can be hard. If you are in a good place this Christmas then all power to you. Squeeze every ounce of joy from it. But also take a moment’s pause from the prep. Look up. Listen up. Is there anyone who might benefit from joining you?
Someone feeling lonely, displaced, unwelcome? Or is there anyone in your circle you want to check in with and check they are doing okay?
If the thought of Christmas is incredibly confronting for your personal circumstances right now, I’m sorry and I see you. Please don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you. Just because they haven’t offered or haven’t asked you how you are doing does not mean they don’t care. Ask for what you need. And, please, accept that hand when it is offered. You are neither a bother nor a burden, and you are welcome.
We are just at the point now that those who are secretly panicking on the inside about getting through Christmas will really be feeling it, so this week make it your mission to spread a little Christmas cheer ahead of time.
WHERE TO GET HELP
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call the police immediately on 111. Or if you need to talk to someone else: Depression helpline 0800111757. Kidsline 0800543754. Lifeline 0800543354. Need to talk? Free call or text 1737. Samaritans 0800726666. Suicide crisis helpline 0508828865. Whatsup 08009428787. Youthline 0800376633, free text 234 or email [email protected]
Life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Find more at louisethompson.com