I find it even harder to be happy at this time of year when everyone keeps telling me to, or to be simply having a wonderful Christmas time or wishing it was Christmas everyday., and don't get me started on De Burgh's Spaceman........
I worked in a supermarket as a kid ( I was headhunted to move from Budgens to Co-op in the Summer of 1988 as their usual baked bean aisle stacker had moved on to bigger things) and that winter listened to the Christmas songs tape on repeat hundreds of times. Ask any shop worker, they will hate Christmas songs too.
In the bleak midwinter is my favourite Christmas 'song' and my favourite line 'frosty wind made moan'. I'm wondering if that's frosty the snowman's wind, but it probably isn't.
Anyway I digress, but Christmas can be tough if you're miserable.
I watched 'Inside Out' loads this year with my kids (clearly based on the Numbskulls from the Beano, the film I mean, not my kids) and found Joy bloody annoying. Always trying to see the good in each situation. Although I wish she could wrestle control of my brain console away from Sadness or Anger a bit more often. But I probably need to give her a chance to bring some happiness. But how?
I'd heard a rumour that happiness is a major contributor to wellbeing, and I read something about it recently ("If you're so smart why aren't you happy" by Raj Raghunathan) with five simple tips. In the recycling spirit I'll borrow it here, with a few additions where I didn't agree/ understand (because I'm not that smart).
A - don't pursue happiness. Recognise what it is that makes you happy. Make a list and prioritise doing them. Make a list and check it twice if you want. There is a good film called The Pursuit of Happyness (not a typo) though, always liked Will Smith.
B - take responsibility. Start by taking care of yourself. Be more active. Eat better. Take note of which helps and keep doing them
C- don't compare - apart from on insurance websites of course when its strongly recommended, particularly if you live in a flood risk area
D - go with the flow - what are you good at that you lose yourself in, writing borrowed blogs, walking, cooking, whatever. List it. Do it.
E - trust strangers - i think this means connect with people coz we all know about stranger danger. It'll help you worry less if you trust (connect) more
So this Christmas Day I hope to be reading a book (probably a new one) watching the kids play with their presents (with ear plugs in - me not them, that would be weird), eating chocolate orange to be healthier, not worrying about who is having a better time than me and saying Happy Christmas (and meaning it) to randoms on the way to the pub.
But I'll be listening to "I was born on Christmas Day" by St Etienne with Tim Burgess, coz that's a proper Christmas song, and that Midwinter song's a bit too bleak, even for me.
Have a happy one
Mr Paul Wyse