“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in the jars and open a jar of it every month.”
– Harlan Miller.
“Christmas is not an external event at all, but a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart.”
– Freya Stark.
Ok, so this is the first Christmas with our boys that we seem to will have actually enjoyed!
But let’s start at the beginning…
My name is Ivana (or less formally, Ivanka) and I am a mum to two gorgeous twin boys Mason and Henry. I love them so much it hurts but girl, they can drive me mad sometimes!
But that’s motherhood, isn’t it? Some days you burst with love and happiness, other days you burst with anger or stress… However, what I love about it is that love always wins. Regardless of how long or intense the battle is, love always comes out of it as an invincible winner.
I have not always felt this way, though. The first few months of motherhood I had a battle with postnatal depression which was frankly the toughest battle of my life and something I hope to never go through again!
Sadly, our first Christmas with the boys was nothing like how I expected. The boys were 8 months old at the time and I still was not used to all the changes they brought into our lives… All the magical things that belong to Christmas like decorating the tree, cooking, baking, watching Christmas movies… It all happened so quickly this time that I almost didn’t notice it… Almost.
As a matter of fact, our first Christmas day with the boys was not too different from any other day. I was still “just” a mum overwhelmed by the same draining duties… Over and over again.
What did not add to my mental wellbeing were all the people around me enjoying Christmas and everything that belonged to it… Just like I used to once.
However, I survived and now, 2 years later, I finally know what it feels like to enjoy Christmas as a mum. Furthermore, it is way more amazing than I ever imagined! Seeing our boys decorate the tree, hearing their chatter, seeing the sparkles in their eyes, seeing their excitement, baking perfectly imperfect gingerbread men together,… It is truly indescribable and one of the most amazing feelings ever, indeed.
However, if you cannot relate to this and feel rather down this Christmas, don’t worry! You are not alone… In fact, feeling down during Christmas is more common in mothers than you would have thought.
Being a mum is not easy and our little ones don’t give us break over Christmas any more than they do on any other day. If it is too much right now, try and relax. Remember that there are no rules on how we should feel over Christmas, so please don’t beat yourself up and take it easy.
Enjoying Christmas does not mean that you feel like and do exactly what the majority of people do. Enjoying it means that you are relaxed and comfortable with whatever you feel and do.
Not sure how you can achieve that? Don’t worry, I put together three powerful tips for you that will help you to enjoy Christmas even if you don’t feel like it.
Let’s dive in!
Stop pleasing others and start doing you!
I know, easier said than done. But if you give it another thought, you find it is actually not hard at all. We spend so much time trying to please others or do what they want, that we completely forget to follow the all-time best guide – our inner voice.
Are you stressed because your house is a mess? Ask yourself this magic phrase – So what? You have no time to cook? No time or energy to buy presents? You are not in the mood to celebrate Christmas? So what?
Try and answer this question and you will learn that there is no reason to stress out at all. Do what you want and you will be fine. Would you like to spend Christmas in bed? Sleeping? Reading? Being quiet? Something else? Do it! You cannot enjoy Christmas if you do something you don’t enjoy. Simple as that :).
Don’t worry that others will judge you. They don’t think about you as much as you think they do anyway (In a nice way!). The likely reason is that they are too busy thinking about what others think of them.
Be open about your feelings
One of the biggest mistakes I did while suffering mental issues was that I was not open about my feelings. I put so much effort and energy into hiding it that this effort itself was extremely exhausting. If you give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are feeling, your negative emotions will reduce dramatically!
If your friend asks you a question that gives you anxiety, tell her! If you don’t feel like answering the phone, don’t answer it! if you feel low when you speak to a friend or family member, tell them! This way, not only will you lift a massive weight off your shoulders, but you will also get a great amount of support that will work as something soothing for your soul – especially on Christmas!
If you have no one to talk to, please consider joining my online support group where you can share your real feelings, meet other like-minded mums and receive plenty of love and support!
Imagine your Christmas next year
This simple trick really does wonders!
If you are not happy right now, that is ok. It does not mean you will feel the same next year and the year after that…
How would you like to feel next Christmas? Where do you think you will be then? Try and envision it and really feel it! Close your eyes and feel it as though it is happening now. Go really deep and focus on every detail… Stay here for a few minutes and then come back.
Notice how you feel …
How simple and how powerful, isn’t it?
I hope these tips will help you to spend this Christmas as joyfully as possible! Just listen to your inner voice and don’t be afraid to follow it, ok?
Do you have some other tips on how to enjoy Christmas when you feel low? Please share them with us, we’d love to hear them!