Advice on Coping With Christmas Shopping

The Christmas Panic has officially passed! Or at least it is sufficiently contained

I have addressed the things that needed addressing, given myself occasional little mental shakes and have been enjoying the season the way in which it is designed to be, catching up with friends both old and new.

There has been mulled wine, toasted marshmallows on open fires, Prosecco and the sacrificial burning of cardboard Tudor houses ( School project. Don’t ask.)

There has been MORE mulled wine, the exchanging of gifts and lots of playing. Heck, there has even been the lighting of the menorah and doughnuts as courteous nod to show the kids that they really do have Jewish roots (even if S is very very secular)

There has been The Big Christmas Clean and a sort of necessary trip to the shops – necessary only perhaps to help contain The Christmas Panic

I think a panic buy of wrapping paper is totally worth the cost if it helps ease your mental or emotional strain quite frankly. Just like a taxi is worth the cost of it means you arrive calm and not fraught with a tight chest.

Yes, depression and anxiety can be costly but don’t ever allow anyone to shame you for whatever expenses you deem necessary to preserve your mental health or help you function

Spend-shaming is a very real thing I’ve noticed down the years and it’s not on at all

As for the shops, of course they were all frantic and buzzy but I’ve developed a “shut down and engage protective shields” approach

This is how it works…

. Focus on yourself

. Seek only what you came for

. Keep a calm head

. Be patient. You’ve got all the time in the world. If you don’t have all the time in the world, you shouldn’t be at the shop

. Be patient. If you don’t have all the time in the world and you absaloutley MUST be in the shop then getting impatient isn’t going to speed things up. All you can do is wait.

. Imagine you’re travelling by bubble. Float through the frenzy. Nothing can touch you in your space. Think Glinda the Good Witch

. Only concern yourself with what you can control. You can’t control other people -other shoppers or retail workers. You can only control you

. You are only responsible for you

. Don’t try to frantically pack your shopping every which way with the worry that you’re holding up the line. Take as long as you need. You have every right to be there and every right to how much time you require before you are ready to leave. Chances are no one will say anything but if they do, you’re more than justified in giving them a sharp tongued retort back. Or a Paddington-ish hard stare. Or just act like they’re not there and ignore them completely

. The world won’t end if you can’t acquire honey roasted cashews this holiday. A tasty festive snack isn’t worth sacrificing your mental health for. If it requires going full Hunger Games with old ladies prepared to kill for the sweet salty crunch then let it go. If you must, ask someone else to pick some up on your behalf from another store

. Keep and utilise your sense of humour

. Calm voice and calm movements = calm mental state. Often, anyway

. Find a cafe. Have a coffee. You deserve it. Nay, you NEED it

I have a similar “Shut Down and Switch to Default” approach embarrassing public situations that allows me to save face too. It amounts to “Keep Calm and Carry On” and “No biggie. Shit happens” and “Literally everyone has fallen on their face at some point in their lives”

It’s quite interesting as in both circumstances I feel my brain change setting.

I realise for some people these approaches are just not feasible

But I can only and have only ever written from my own experiences, and so these are my own responses to my own experiences

For some they might be useful. For others they might not be

Yes, I have been enjoying the season the way it ought to be the last couple of days and I am very glad of it

I have been reflecting too. Looking back on my posts from this time last year and I think in many ways they’re really quite sad. They’re burning with anger. Justifiably, mind you. Last year, although there was much good in the world and in life, didn’t really end on a good note in a number of ways and as such 2019 didn’t start on a good note either, in the same ways. I think that’s pretty evident from the tone of my writings if not the content

Much has changed for the better since then and thank heavens for that.

Today I am feeling contented and cosy and I am looking forward to spending Christmas with S and the children and the cat in our new home, although I do anticipate I will be quite tired come Christmas Day

But then, which parent isn’t?

Much Love

Kirsty