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12th December 2022

Mindfulness around Christmas

The joys of Christmas are not always felt by everyone. For some, this time of year can be especially hard. So, here is why its important to look after yourself, practise self-care, and have a more mindful Christmas time
Mindfulness around Christmas
Photo: Morgane Le Breton @ Unsplash

While Christmas can be the happiest time of year for some, even twice as happy as usual, it also has the uncanny ability to make everything twice as difficult. Going home for the Christmas holidays can be particularly daunting – it’s not usual you relocate for a month and are expected to re-immerse yourself into a life that isn’t your daily one anymore. No matter your faith, other people’s joy, or the millions of Christmas lights that decorate Manchester from early November, it is important to remember that others may not be as delighted this time of year.

While many students will be excited to return home to see old friends and spend time with family, others may struggle with the trauma of rehashing old memories, or being faced with greeting people you may have been happy to leave behind. Remember that this could be an opportunity to mend relationships, or to spend the long overdue time with family members that haven’t moved with you to a new city, and are desperately awaiting your return.

Equally, it is also true that if you are not enjoying the plaguing assignments and the responsibility of cooking, laundry, and general self-care, that you make the most of the time you have at home. Christmas can help you feel as though you can come back to university with a clean slate, and hopefully give yourself a fresh start.

A vital part of Christmas is quality time with your family and friends. While for some this is lovely, for others it is far harder. As the Christmas markets are re-opening and restrictions have eased, it is important to remember those who have lost family members in recent years, and will still be suffering.

While you may complain about the boring old traditions, or that one family member that always gets that little bit too drunk, be mindful of the losses people have faced in recent years, and offer them more than gifts – instead, unconditional support and gratitude for the part they play in your life. It can mean much more to someone than you know.

It’s also important to remember those of other faiths during Christmas time, who often experience underrepresentation of their religious holidays. Cultural and religious sensitivity is incredibly important at Christmas, as well as any time of year, and remember that the aspects of kindness, joy, and understanding can go a lot further than one may believe they would.

This is not to suggest that Christmas should not be enjoyed and appreciated to the fullest. Rather, it is an opportunity to spread awareness and empathy, and a chance to remember that Christmas does not mean the same thing to everyone. Gift-giving is only part of the Christmas experience, especially to those families suffering particularly this December as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

Whatever your Christmas looks like this year, know that it is okay. While Christmas is often joyful, it is also just another day. If nothing else, hopefully this Christmas can give you a well-deserved break from uni work, and time to spend with family or friends.

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