Christmas is seen as a time of great joy, family gatherings, feasts and fun but for some it can be a difficult time where people are having to manage their own mental health against a backdrop of expectation and societal noise.
I will try and best explain my personal experiences…
Not everyone enjoys Christmas time, and it isn’t always down to being Bah Humbug.
I don’t need people to fix me, nor convert me. My affinity with the trappings of Christmas exists on a spectrum, like many of our feelings that could be 2 out of 100 one year; and then 99 the next.
It’s OK to feel that way.
<It all goes back to childhood>
Most deep-rooted feelings go back to childhood experiences.
I was caught in a cultural void as a small kid. Caught between having first-generation Hong Kong immigrant parents working hard to make their own roots in Britain, whilst I struggled to understand why I was deemed an outsider by those around me in North Eastern England.
One year I was left wondering why my classmates were talking about getting presents in December; the next I was wondering why my sock hanging on the mantel piece was empty after I had crept downstairs early and expectantly on Christmas Day.
The kick in the guts was being laughed at by my parents, for being taken in by this notion of getting something for nothing from Santa.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand Christmas for what it is, beyond the pernicious coercive bribery of “Be good or else you won’t get the latest iPhone”. It is a time to take a break from work, to spend time with family. To make a different effort, to laugh, to feast, and to make others feel good.
As a business owner, I love our Christmas staff lunches. We find a nice venue, spend the whole afternoon, eating and drink, laughing and joking. There’s no point penny pinching, nor can I be a grumpy boss and let my inner negative Yuletide feelings surface. I actually really, really enjoy the afternoon as well as the random gifting I end up doing too. It makes me happy to make others feel happy.
Owning a hosting company means I always have a 24*7 watchful eye or ear on the business. But I do give myself the time to do what I love best over Christmas. When I can, I lay out a dining table as if Henry the 8th was coming, what with all the glasses, cutlery and plates to enjoy a quiet day, with minimal people around, cooking and eating, even if I had to rush into work to turn a server off and on again.
Thanks to our guest blogger…
Huge thanks to our guest blogger – SOBO local legend Gordon Fong. Gordon interviewed our CEO Marianne, earlier this year. He asked her how to recognise when people are suffering with their mental health – and what they should do.