It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It is! Christmas for many is a time of family, love and celebrating time together. Because the marketing and song says so, right?

But maybe you are thinking I just don’t feel it — not the joy, the merry this and that, the excitement and anticipation, the pleasure of decorating and gift exchanges, not the big family parties and all the other festive commitments. This writer knows first hand what this can feel like.

I feel it is important to take a moment to acknowledge that Christmas for some is a time of year that brings more than the usual stress, it can also bring grief.

For some, as much as you try to fake it, keep a good attitude and put on a brave face, this day is not easy for you because maybe you really feel heartache, sorrow, loss, loneliness, discouraged, depressed, hurt, grieving and maybe even angry. For some, maybe you would like to go to sleep then wake up when it is all over, if you could you would cancel Christmas altogether. They use sadder words to capture their Christmas feelings like: alone.

No matter what you feel at Christmas time, joy or sadness, there is a reason why you feel the way you do.

The pressure to have a good time can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re already dealing with emotional difficulties or mental health issues.

One way of coping is to find a way of doing Christmas on your own terms.
This might mean opting out of some celebrations, or taking steps to feel more in control of how you spend your time.
It can be really tempting to Isolate yourself from people when you’re struggling but often makes things worse.
Consider attending a community Christmas lunch in your local area.

If you know of a Community Christmas Lunch please post details in the comments.

You may be surprised by how many people are also feeling lonely at this time.
Maybe you know others who are also alone. Consider if you can reach out to each other.

If you feel you can’t cope by yourself, or just want to talk to someone, there are ways you can get support. Reach out to someone that you trust or look for support online or on a helpline.
LightFM Careline 1300 302 170
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

If I could give any gift to you, I’d grant you serenity to know a peaceful heart no matter your circumstances.