Are you spending time with your family this Easter?
Another bank holiday is here and for many, the familiar panic is rising.
What is it about bank holidays that strike fear into those who struggle with mental health?
Well where do we start?!
Back in December we wrote about Christmas and eating difficulties, both if you are struggling yourself and if you know someone struggling. This bank holiday we want to give you a short survival guide on spending time with (or without) your loved ones, it sounds counter intuitive to need a survival guide for spending time with the people you love but many who have struggled with their mental health, and in particular eating, food or body image perception difficulties will agree that spending time with family can be tough.
Coping with Family
Lots of families arrange to meet over bank holidays, whether it is the whole extended family descending on the household or a big meal/ party or going away on holiday together. Whatever the occasion, and through no fault of their own, family can be stressful for someone who has mental health struggles.
The fear and anxiety of judgement, pressure, tricky dynamics, seeing people you haven’t seen for a long time and unwelcome comments all add to the experience.
Tips for coping with your family
- Make a plan for the weekend!
- Pick your battles
- Play quirk bingo*
- Alleviate unnecessary stress through preparation
- Take a deep breath
- Have an exit strategy (you don’t have to leave completely but if it gets too much go try and take a break)
*All families have their eccentricities, so why not partner with someone and the first person to spot all of the predecided quirks wins.
Coping without Family
On the other side of the coin, there are those who are choosing to avoid their family, who do not have a family to spend the time with, those grieving or who are away. This is tough for a whole different host of reasons.
If you are someone who has made the choice not to spend Easter (or any other holiday) with your family, this can be bitter sweet; wishing they were different, being grateful that you are not with them, wondering what they are doing instead.
If this is you then take this with you into the Easter break: For whatever reason, you made the right choice. Practice self care and understand that you are important.
Tips for coping without your family
- Make a new Easter tradition
- Get away from the house (or wherever you currently are) if you can
- Try and spend time with friends instead
- Make a plan for the days
- If you are on good terms with your family, then let them know that you are thinking of them
Whether you are with or without your family; look after yourself, prioritise what you need and remember that it is only a few days so no matter what… ‘this too will pass’.
As always, if you are struggling, or know someone that is, please feel free to get in touch.