Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS - words GEMMA ASKHAM il­lus­tra­tion ASILLO

’Tis the sea­son to be jolly. Re­mem­ber that, and chill out

The big man might’ve had rein­deer is­sues, but he didn’t have 12 group chats, 11 ‘sorry we missed you’ slips, 10 fes­tive catch-ups and a sod­ding wreath to make. Per­mis­sion to burn your di­ary?

Yes, it’s the most won­der­ful time of the year. Said no one in a chaf­ing se­quin dress. And they’re not the only lyrics that lie. Driv­ing Home For Christ­mas? Try spunk­ing 70 quid on a train fare, only to spend four rick­ety hours stand­ing by a blocked toi­let. Mistle­toe And Wine sounds fun, un­til you’re swap­ping salmon-and-bellini-in­fused saliva with your line man­ager. And come 19 De­cem­ber you’d prob­a­bly sell your liver for a Silent Night if you thought it had any re­tail value. ‘I don’t know of any other time when peo­ple force cheer­ful­ness and do things they don’t want to in the name of tra­di­tion and obli­ga­tion,’ says Me­gan Devine, a psy­chother­a­pist and au­thor of It’s OK That You’re Not OK. She’s not wrong. Shove the word ‘Christ­mas’ in front of an ac­tiv­ity and sud­denly luke­warm wine with your weird neigh­bours, or watch­ing a for­mer mem­ber of Steps turn on some lights, be­comes an event worth putting on make-up for. But fill­ing your di­ary with the same en­thu­si­asm with which you fill your brand-new boots for the of­fice Christ­mas party is do­ing you no favours. Of course, you don’t need us to tell you this – you’ve lived it. You’ve forced down wine the way a child forces down sprouts while count­ing down the days till Jan­uary when so­bri­ety is so­cially ac­cept­able. Here’s an idea: chill the fuck out this year and make the Christ­mas sea­son ac­tu­ally work for you.

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