Christmas: Social Anxiety.

So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun. Ah, John Lennon, he certainly said some incredibly profound quotes but I’m not sure about the ‘War is over’ opening lyrics. I guess a more topical and political opening would be – so this is Christmas, and what’s it all for? Well, I guess at the heart of it all, if you take away any religious and spiritual connotations, it’s a time to spend with those who matter most. Which in itself should be a lovely and beautiful thing. However, due to the complications of modern living and the competitive nature of human beings, it also means absolutely everybody’s social anxieties flare up. Even those who aren’t aware they have anxious tendencies are trying desperately hard to please those around them, worrying, stressing, trying to make everything perfect. Other’s might be avoiding the festivities all together and playing Scrooge. Or, you might be like me, you’ve committed to a the social engagements and now your brain is reeking havoc on you because you don’t feel in control of your own time.

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A Christmas show we played back in 2015. No anxieties here. I worked in Leisure at this point and had work the day after this show, 6am start.

Every Christmas of my adult life so far, has been relatively quiet. Whilst I worked in the Leisure Industry, I would usually work everyday right up to Christmas eve, then have the big day itself and boxing day off, to then returned straight back to work on the 27th. Despite being guilty of making a few jealous remarks towards those who had a longer time off, I didn’t mind too much because my routine fuelled mind quite enjoyed not having to deviate from my usual health-driven fitness-fuelled schedule. Last year was my first ever “Christmas Holiday” but I was living in a flat by myself and chose to stay there right up until Christmas eve, living by my usual routine right up until the big day itself again. This year however, I have a fully packed schedule full of festivities, food and far too many situations in which I have to function socially.

This panics me as it means I can’t go by my usual routine. Although I can still fit in most of the activities that fill Benedict’s typical day, they won’t be very cohesive in timing and there’s plenty of potential for me to have to miss certain things due to getting caught up. My stubbornness will inevitably kick in and I’ll end up making sure that I do everything I want to, most probably without any issues to the others around me, but it still means I worry about it. It’s a shame Christmas should feel like this as it should be a time to relax and not worry about the anxieties and pressures of life. Except, that right there is why for someone like me, it is a stress. I enjoy the fast paced movement, the energy in everyday life, the work pressure, the routine – it’s what I feast on. I am awful when I don’t have much to stimulate me. Unfortunately, mindless television and feeling overly full doesn’t quite cut it for me. Get me on a plane, to a beach with a vast ocean and tell me I’m allowed to run up the mountains all day long and sip coffee along the shore.

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Whose up for spending Christmas in Athens, Greece. This was also 2015, having run the Athens Marathon the day before. Again, no anxieties here, just pure post-marathon bliss. 

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to write it out on here as a way of getting it off my chest. If you do see me this Christmas and I’m pacing around looking worried then you’ll know why. Just send me out on another run and get me some herbal tea and a mince pie for after…

I wish thee all a stress-free Christmas lead up, see you in the next post.
BG.

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