So after last weeks post, I decided that I needed to try and regain at least a little bit of control of my mental health and had a day off work. It’s amazing what a difference that has made for me! I wrote some lists and took myself Christmas shopping. I started on the cooking that I needed to do and I have a bunch of stuff in the freezer ready for this week. Presents have been bought and mostly wrapped and I feel a million times better. I would absolutely recommend a Mental Health day for anyone who is feeling the anxiety that the lead up to Christmas can bring – or any time throughout the rest of the year as well!
I have always been a fan of taking a day for myself every now and again. It is such a great way to reset your brain and your energy, and those things matter so much more than we give credit for. I’m lucky enough to only work 4 days per week and try to make the most of my day off. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and if I can manage it I will try and make some more time for myself this week… ideally a quick run to the beach to watch the sun come up on my mid-week day off!
I know that Christmas is a really hard time for a lot of people, and I know that a lot of my widowed friends are struggling at the moment too. There is a whole lot of anxiety leading up to the day, wondering how it will be this year, anticipating perhaps a first without their person, or knowing how tough it is having gone through it before. Christmas, and other family celebrations are really hard without your person. They are central to everything that you do or think about doing. There isn’t an hour that passes for me that I am not thinking about Claytie and how he would be feeling about everything… Even though he is gone, he is still a huge part of everything I think about and do, and he always will be.
This year I have a new anxiety to add to my list, and that involves the person I am seeing. He and I are in a really good place and we talk about everything all of the time. It is really reassuring that we are able to do that, it works wonders for my anxiety and he fully understands me and my craziness and I get him. It really helps that we were such good friends before we started dating, because we have seen the “real” version of who we both are. It means that there are no taboo subjects and that is a really nice feeling, especially when I am feeling so chaotic.
I have had lots of questions from different people about our relationship in relation to Christmas – will we be spending it together? and how do the boys feel about it?… Two of my boys haven’t yet met him – they are not ready and I don’t want to push them, but I know that hurts him a bit. I know that the boys have been nervous about his family being part of our Christmas, and I have had to reassure them that that won’t be happening this year (he will be at our place for boxing day tho and they are all fine with that). I do want them to meet and get to know him and have asked them to make an effort with that! My in-laws have had some of the same concerns, and again, I would love for them to meet him, but I understand that its really hard for them and I don’t want to push. Other people seem to think that it is weird that we wont be spending the day together. It is a challenge to navigate and make sure everyone in the family is feeling heard and understood, and still do the things that are right for me.
There are so many “firsts” and new things that have happened in my world since Claytie died. Almost everyday there is something that challenges me. It kind of never occurred to me that there would be so many things that I would not be prepared for, but then again I never ever thought I would find myself in this position at all. In lots of ways I am proud of myself for putting one foot in front of the other and getting through each day, and then in others I think well, what else would I do?! Life keeps going regardless of how I feel about it and I have to make the best of what I have. My mum commented the other day that she is worried about my happiness, and I am too. I don’t know that I will ever as happy as I was, but I am doing the very best I can to find a new happiness and to live my life the best way I know how.