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Police Station Lantern saying Police
As I write this blog the Clay family are well into Christmas. 
I greatly delight in watching the naughty elves create such mayhem in our children’s family homes and am impressed with the mischief ideas (what a relief that they didn’t arrive when our children were young). I am feeling my warm Christmas glow with school Christmas plays and pantomime tickets booked and catching up with family and friends over Christmas lunches. 
On reflection, my warm Christmas glow has had different meanings over Christmas past and has not even been there. When being driven by climbing the corporate ladder I missed some school Christmas plays as I chased my quarter-four sales targets. After all, Scott and Mum would update me, as I told myself I would be there next year, and there would be every present the children asked for under the tree on Christmas morning. 

In December 2016, I had no Christmas glow as we said goodbye to mum  seven days before the big day. 

When I finally accepted that we would lose her, Christmas could do one.  
While putting up the Christmas decorations in our farmhouse, I found myself saying she would want us to carry on with a smile while feeling hurt and lonely inside.  
If I went on an overdrive in my life totally, no one would see how broken I was. 
Marked police car passing by bridge in front of high buildings in background
Whatever this Christmas means to you, and however you choose to celebrate, it is OK to take time out for yourself.  
Understand your feelings and turn stresses into challenges and say 'no' to the things you don’t want to do.  
Get everyone involved with the Christmas dinner, and you may find chefs you didn’t know existed in your family! 

A few ways to support your mental well-being this Christmas is to: 

Have a routine. 
Set boundaries. 
Let go of the guilt. 
It is OK to remember and talk about people who are no longer with us. 
Giving someone a little of your time can be the most special gift! 
Remember that self-care is not being selfish. 
If you feel alone with a mental health decline or find yourself lonely in a room of people, it is time to talk and reach out  
for the help you need. Taking that first step is a sign of strength, not weakness. 
Remember, Christmas is how you want to celebrate and does not have to be perfect. 
Let’s do this together. 
Best wishes 
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