Tips from E14 counsellor on how to beat the Christmas blues

By Beth Allcock on December 18, 2013 11:34 AM |


While for many Christmas is a time of fun, happiness and festive cheer for others, it can also be a period of family tensions, bouts of loneliness or grief.

Whether you're a young Wharfer heading back to your parents' home, a new mum or dad striving to create your first family Christmas or a couple with two sets of pressurising parents, measures can be taken now to ensure tensions reduce and your mind remains healthy.

Owen Redahan, a counsellor who works from his base in Cannon Studios, West India Quay, said for those looking to create their own festive plans this year, conversation and pre-planning were key.

"Traditions at Christmas change and evolve," he said. "They are not set in concrete and new ideas can be fun and interesting but communication is important.

"If people talk to and respect each other and listen to what the other person is saying they can figure out a way to move forward. And sometimes this doesn't have to be a dramatic change.

"If you want to spend Christmas Day with your partner, there's no reason why you can't say to your parents that you'll be popping in on Christmas Eve or for the whole of Boxing Day.

"Talk to you partner and decide a plan of action."

For those returning to their families out of a sense of obligation, he suggests preparing to compromise and thinking ahead about what causes rows and tension to plan ways to avoid them.

Time to yourself, or spent calling a friend or loved one, may help too.

Owen also highlighted two groups of people - those suffering from the breakdown of a relationship or loss of a loved one - for whom Christmas is likely to be less rosy.

"It can be a very difficult time for these people and, for the break up of a relationship, it's a case of driving through the pain," he said. "It's accepting there will be a sadness for them and, if they can, take some time to think about the person or relationship, then that's a good thing.

"If someone has died, what could be helpful is to write to the person telling them how they miss them, to put their feelings on paper.

"It's a good way of getting feelings out and looking at them and, although it's very difficult, trying to socialise is beneficial too."

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