I did a bit of research for this particular piece as I wanted to gather some feelings about the topic from the people who it is aimed at. As it turned out, there wasnanyone who was excited about their festive plans. That was a) really saddening and b) food for thought. 

It would be really easy to write about the worries and fears that it seems many of us with MH face during the festive season. Many of us will massively struggle with the days of festivity that are coming up. This blog is in no way meant to trivialise the absolute anguish that some are facing. Please, if you feel you are at risk of harm always use the contact pages on the website. However, there has been call for some more lighthearted content – I shall attempt to assist.  

 The main themes that came across when talking to people were that they felt they had no control over the situations they may find themselves in over Christmas at home and that they didnt feel enjoyment about the upcoming days (which can be a natural characteristic of depression). So Ive done some research around self-care. Ive also read a few psychology papers relating to situations which we cant necessarily avoid but may have to face nonetheless i.e. hosting Christmas dinner as you have agreed to and people are counting on you. In an attempt to pull it all together, Ive come up with a tool. Its intention is to structure any festive days or events you have coming up and create positive feelings if/when completed. Lets try and inject some hope and possibly even pleasure into Christmas at home.  

 Cut the bull BINGO 

Far from being a tried and tested method, this is the pure, hyper-manic production of the author of this blog. I hope you manage to have some light moments whilst trying it out. Under no circumstances are you allowed to berate yourself if you dont want to take part or dont manage to complete a single box. Maybe just writing your own BINGO card will help structure your ideas about what you want/dont want during Christmas at home. 

We may not be able to avoid having Christmas Day with people we dont particularly want to spend it with. There may seem nothing to look forward to on other days you are facing. So lets try and rethink these events. Cut the bull – state what you want! Then try to face what you dont want through creating an action plan for it. Add in a dash of self-care and weve got a full BINGO mission for every event thats coming up. If you manage to complete the ‘Cut the Bull’ BINGO “card” youll know youve made it and had some choice/control and (hopefully) enjoyment. Please share your cards on the Facebook page – you could even use the hashtag #cuththebullbingo. It would be fantastic to share this tough time together with a bit of lighthearted fun and a type of challenge to try to take our minds off the potential anxiety.  

The only rule is that the items on the card must be realistic. As much as you may want to have Christmas Day providing a shelter for stray local animals, let me tell you that a living room crowded with a pony, a family of squirrels and fifteen stray moggies will not be the menagerie dream you had planned.  I am awaiting a call back from Tom Hardy regarding my invitation for him to spend Xmas day with me – dancing with grandma can be quickly knocked off my bingo card if he comes up trumps!  

Love Abundantly, Sophia x