Happy December and welcome to the month where literal near-strangers will come out of the woodwork wanting a catch-up. It can be a month of extreme social pressure, comparison of how the year has gone and anxiety over another year ending.
It’s that time of year where we constantly concur that we can’t believe how quickly the year has gone through gritted teeth of have I achieved everything I wanted to?
I fell into a trap myself of booking in a tonne of social events for December, feeling completely overwhelmed and having to reschedule or cancel them. This time last year in the height of my loneliness I NEEDED social events to keep me distracted from the way that I was feeling. This year I realise that I mostly need time alone for reflection, rest and a refresh, as well as a few parties thrown in for good measure.
I can safely say after a year of working through my personal struggles with loneliness, I can easily identify when I’m masking emotion with things-to-do or when I’m planning things to enjoy with my friends. Now I always make sure it’s for the reason of the latter.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to help you decide whether to go out or stay in this festive season:
Has this person enriched my life all year long?
If someone is suddenly wanting a catch up it could well be through a realisation they’ve not seen you all year and feel guilty about it. Make sure you spend your limited social time with the people that have loved, supported, encouraged and inspired you throughout the year. This is the time to celebrate real friendships.
Will this event bring me joy?
Christmas is the season of joy after all. If it’s an event with good people, good food, good drinks then go for it!
Are winter blues talking me out out it?
It is very easy to swap the dark rainy evenings for sofa snuggles but a balance of social events will keep you healthy over winter. Don’t let the lazy temptation trick you into hibernating. The thought is always worse than the action and when you get out with your friends you will wonder why you were ever considering not going.
Does my friend need me right now?
It is good to look at the decision from the other person’s point of view. If a friend is calling for a catch up they could well need it more than you know. Winter can be a hard time for those that suffer from loneliness, stress and mental health issues. It is naturally a time where people are less sociable and when you are going through a tough time it can feel like a real effort to get people to spend time with you. If you know a friend is suffering reach out to them, show them lots of love and spend some time with them.
I hope these 4 questions help you when deciding whether to stay in or go out. Ultimately you need to create a balance between work, wellbeing, time alone and time with friends. Summer and Christmas can be a really fun time with friends just as long as you don’t overbook and overwhelm yourself.