I used to think Christmas was something was something you had to endure. The forced smiles of greeting uncle knobheads, and having families cross boundaries like they are doing the hopscotch. I used to feel inadequate that I wasn’t an exact blue print of everyone else. That the same things didn’t make me happy anymore. I don’t drink wine, and I don’t “do things for the gram”.

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So yeah, I did something. I spent the first Christmas on my own. At first I was thinking, “Oh God I’m going to be so lonely, I’m going to cry so hard I’m going to spend Boxing Day building an ark”.

Well it was fucking fantastic. I had a day free from social media, free from noise, free to go trail running (which gives me so much peace and inner calm), free from the shouting, free from the fake smiles. I was free. I have now renamed Christmas, Rechargemas.

I don’t think I want to go back. What I’ve learnt is:

  • Boundaries: Have clear boundaries with families. Don’t let them “should” all over you at Christmas.
  • Challenge: Challenge what “should” happen at Christmas
  • Permission: Give yourself permission to say “No”
  • Well Being: Your Well being is number 1 at Christmas
  • Communicate: Let your family and friends know you need quiet time at Christmas.

(Taken from the Mental Health Foundation)

Challenging the norms is the only way that people can feel that isn’t shameful to want to do things differently. That it’s ok, to not be an extrovert. That it’s ok to take some time for yourself, to recharge. That it’s ok to be yourself. Especially at Christmas.

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