Christmas is now over. The excitement has died down, and hopefully everyone managed to have an imperfectly perfect Christmas, or at least managed to enjoy it as much as possible. The aftermath of Christmas on the media is awful. The only way it makes us feel is guilty. This relates most to the guilt of food and of gifts. Influencers (especially fitness based) are heavily busy in the aftermath of Christmas, as they advertise new workouts to ‘burn off the Christmas calories.’ Family members encourage themselves to start their ‘diet’ again after being ‘naughty’ at Christmas. Talk of weight gain, dieting etc is one of the most toxic ways to finish the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. This guilt is all a ‘money making’ scheme as it supports the diet culture community, which views ‘thinness’ as the ultimate goal and weight gain as something we should deem as our ‘biggest fear’. You do not have to start a diet after Christmas, and you don’t need to feel guilty for what/ how much you ate. If you find you start obsessing over this, please read this article again. To avoid this spiralling into a much worse habit, or even illness, please read this whenever you feel this guilt. Hopefully, this will not be the case, but if it is (which it is for many), please know that eating foods that make you happy on Christmas is fine. Eating these foods after Christmas is also FINE. Please do not start crazy diets or workout regimes just because social media is telling you to. Your body is nourished, so give it a rest, and carry on nourishing it more.
Feeling guilt for not getting your family/ friends more gifts/ more expensive items also can happen. No amount of money/ gifts will make anybody love or appreciate you more. If you couldn’t buy your loved ones what you wanted to, or they wanted to, there is nothing wrong with that. This gift guilt is again presented to us by the media. If I have any advice, it’s to avoid getting too caught up on the media to avoid this guilt feeling. I believe that as long as you enjoyed the day, and your family/ friends did, then Christmas shouldn’t have to be a regret or something you are up at night wishing you had done better. If you were able to smile, and relieve pressure from yourself, then there is absolutely nothing to be guilty about. Food, or gifts.
One more factor to cover is not seeing family due to COVID worries. If you turned down seeing family or even friends on Christmas due to worrying about catching/ giving loved ones COVID, I don’t want you to feel guilty about it. Yours and your family’s safety, as well as your mental well-being is more vital than seeing your friends/ family and putting them, you, or your mental health at risk. If you were not able to see them due to restrictions anyway, or due to you yourself having COVID, again you shouldn’t feel guilt. If Christmas wasn’t quite the same, I hope you still managed to enjoy it. Don’t look back and regret. Reflect on what made you smile on Christmas Day, not what you shouldn’t, couldn’t, didn’t do.
Now it’s over, don’t spend your time feeling guilty going into the New Year. Whatever or whoever is making you feel this way, I want you to tell them, block them etc. Going into 2022 you should not be dwelling on whether your dress from 10 months ago still fits, how bloated you are, what gifts you didn’t get/ receive, or who you did/ didn’t see. Enjoy the rest of this year, and go into next year with a fresh, guilt-free, happy mind.
Article by a Young Reporter
First published in Grimsby Telegraph January 2022