At this time of year, it feels as though happiness and joy is the only option. That any internal struggles or unwanted feelings we may have been experiencing, must fall by the waste side. It’s Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year so have a mince pie and cheer up. Sadly, mental health does not work to the Christian calander and if the lights and the jingle bells are bringing dread rather than excitement; I think Dolly Parton may be able to help.

There are periods of time in which life feels a little like a long dark night. You may feel directionless, feeling out for the light switch which seems to have moved. Tired, disorientated, you move sluggishly with little joy or spring in your step. What causes this darkness is irrelevant. It will be different for everyone, some may be able to write a list, others may not know where to start. Yet all reside in a period of time which seems never ending.

‘It’s been a long dark night, and I’ve been waiting for the morning. It’s been a long hard fight, but I see a brand new day dawning.’

Dolly reminds us that this feeling, this darkness, does not last forever. So yes, Christmas may have come at a bad time, the festive cheer may not be coursing through your blood, but, the light of a clear blue morning is waiting. With this knowledge and the reminder that this feeling is not permanent,  everything becomes a little more manageable.

‘It’s been a long time since I’ve known the taste of freedom, and those clinging vines that had me bound, well I don’t need them.’

The power is in you. To break free of the vines, even if just for five minutes, to see the light of a brand new day. A day where dreams are achievable and happiness is something that you deserve. Just as the sun sets, it will rise, and like this darkness, pain is only temporary.  Try not to be hard on yourself if Christmas isn’t your favourite time of year. Underneath all of the lights, the singing and the dancing is a simple message of giving and gratitude. The dark in this song is time spent on thinking of what we do not have; the light is what comes when we focus on what we do have. If Christmas gives you one piece of light, it is a time to give and receive. Give to yourself, give to others and if you can’t muster the festive cheer, receive it from someone you love, or from a stranger. There is always someone who has found their way out of the long dark night and is standing in the light of a clear blue morning.

‘Because I am strong and I can prove it, And I’ve got my dreams to see me through. It’s just a mountain, I can move it and with faith enough theres nothing I can’t do.’

It’s only a mountain! True Dolly style. No challenge too big, no dream too distant. Just an optimisim which rests on the knowledge that if the blue skies arent here today, then they are on their way.

So, if this festive season, you seem to be waking up with sorrow in your heart, or fog in your head, put Dolly on loud. Sing the words as if you believe them. Know that it doesn’t have to be the most wonderful time of the year. It is however, a time of giving, so give yourself the hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. You have the strength to move a mountain and whatever darkness may be surrounding you, it cannot withstand the strength that you have within. There is no guilt in feeling less than 100% at Christmas, reminising on Christmas’ gone by can bring back memories of what is lost this year. Know that those memories are more special now than they ever were and that although it feels bleak, the sun will shine again.

Everything’s going to be all right that’s been all wrong – Dolly Parton. 

Look after yourselves x


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