Christmas can be a difficult time of year for a lot of people. In a season where everyone seems to be feeling merry and bright, you can feel even more alone and unusual for not feeling so jolly. After the recent UK announcements and restrictions, Christmas will feel a lot more gloomy for many. The stress of the holiday period to please people and sometimes added feelings of loneliness can trigger depression and anxiety. The pandemic has really only amplified these feelings. Christmas looks very different this year, for some it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. I felt it was important to share some reminders for this Christmas period.
Christmas creates a lot of build up and expectation. December is dedicated to preparing for just one day. Spending a whole month working to make sure everything goes perfectly sets a huge expectation that can end up leading to disappointment. Don’t expect your Christmas to be smooth sailing, you can’t please everyone and be everywhere, doing everything. Being with the people you love, even if that’s over Zoom, is what’s important.
Don’t compare your Christmas to everyone else’s online. Social media is a highlight reel, especially at Christmas. Don’t feel guilty if you see people sharing their overpriced gifts online, thinking to yourself the gifts you bought for your loved ones weren’t as good. That is never the case and Christmas should not be so commercial. After a financially stressful year for many, presents shouldn’t be anyone’s number one priority this year.
This Christmas, after such a gruelling year, try to look for the small things to be grateful for. Don’t focus on the material or commercial side of Christmas. Focus on your loved ones and how lucky you are to still have them around. Be grateful you have someone worth missing under these new Christmas restrictions.
Set boundaries with your loved ones. If you are in a part of the country or world where you are able to visit a loved one, don’t feel pressured to if you feel it is not safe or if you feel your mental health would suffer. It is okay to protect your own needs, even at Christmas. Adding to that, do not feel pressured to break tier 4 rules if your family or friends are trying to persuade you too. Set your own personal boundaries in order to protect your mental health and to stay safe in the pandemic.
It is okay to feel low this time of year, not everyone is merry and jolly all the time, even at Christmas, it is normal. It is okay to feel fed up after being restricted from seeing loved ones for almost a whole year. It is okay to not be okay, you don’t have to force a smile just because it’s Christmas. Your feelings are valid. After such an emotionally draining year, you are not alone. If you do feel like you need to reach our for support this Christmas, I have left some links below.
Mental health support links
Samaritans: call 116 123 for immediate support or visit their website here.
Refuge domestic violence: call 0808 200 0247 or visit their website here.
Mind: call 0300 123 3393 or visit their website here.
Young Minds, young people’s mental health: call 0808 802 5544 or visit their website here.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, whatever it is your doing, stay safe and prioritise your mental health. Let’s all hope for a better year, good riddance, 2020! I’ll see you all in 2021!
First of all, I would like to apologise for not posting in a month! I went away for a couple of weeks and then struggled to get back into the rhythm of writing, but I am back now and ready to continue posting and putting out as much content as I can! If you are returning to my website, thank you so much for coming back and I can’t wait to keep sharing information and thoughts with you all again!
For today’s post I wanted to bring attention to some world events that I think are hugely important and that more people should be aware of. To disclaim there are a huge amount of social, environmental, political and economic issues in the world, sadly too many to count. To list them all in this article would be overwhelming. I’m going to shed some light on 3 today that I have recently heard about and feel others should look into more themselves. I encourage you to look into other ongoing global issues that threaten people’s human rights and identities other than these 3 as well. People’s voices need to be heard and we need to support them.
UK Transgender Rights at risk
The first issue I want to bring to light is the UK government’s plans to stop transgender people from being allowed to legally self-identify. This is an extremely recent issue and something I just learnt about yesterday. This is a huge attack on trans rights and a step in the opposite direction.
Plans were being made to reform the Gender Recognition Act from 2004 to make it easier for trans people to legally change their gender in the UK. These plans would introduce self-identification which would make the legal process of changing your gender much shorter. During a consultation to reform the current gender recognition act they suggested removing a Gender Recognition Panel which consists of two medical professionals certifying a transition. This process can feel overly medical and demeaning. Instead the trans person would have the ability to legally change their gender by making a sworn statutory declaration, removing the long-winded medical process. 70% of people supported this reform. However, it seems the government are going to scrap the plans for the reform this week.
This is a huge setback in the progress of trans rights within the UK and hugely disappointing. Unfortunately, our current conservative government administration simply do not deem trans rights as important as other governmental issues, this comes at a surprise to no one. It is hugely demeaning to trans people that they would have to prove to a medical professional that they are worthy of a transition or change in self-identification. We should be moving forwards, not backwards. This is simply not right. The government has been dragging their feet on this issue for far too long. If you wish to support the transgender and non-binary community and stop this reversal of the governments promise to reform the Gender Recognition Act, please do sign this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/327108
The US Supreme Court and the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
After the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a truly remarkable women who fought for gender equality and women’s rights, a seat has opened within the supreme court. Ruth’s dying wish was for her seat to not be filled until after the next president is elected. However, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, announced that they would be filling the seat before the end of President Trump’s term. The hypocrisy of McConnell’s statement is huge because in Obama’s administration, after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, he stated that they should not fill the vacancy until they had a new president, even though Obama still had 11 months in office left. Currently Trump has just over a month left, yet McConnell believes they should replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the next election. This is hugely controversial of McConnell, double standards should be applied and replacing Supreme Ginsburg is not a process that should be rushed.
Replacements in the supreme court can take a long time. However, Trump announced that he would be nominating a replacement by the end of this week. He appears in a rush for the supreme court to ratify it before the election date. Democrats have argued that Trump is pursuing without delay in order to invalidate the affordable healthcare act before the end of his term. Another huge issue within the US right now that would put countless more lives at risk during a global pandemic.
Supreme Court seats are hugely influential positions. Ruth Bader Ginsburg accomplished some remarkable reforms including the right for women to sign a mortgage without a man, the right for a woman to have a bank account without a male co-signer, the right to a job without being discriminated based on gender and the right for women to work whilst being pregnant and having children. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has paved the way in women’s rights and gender equality and became a true feminist and equality icon. The work she achieved will live on throughout generations.
Having a supreme court replacement that wishes to see change as much as Ruth did is hugely important. Discrimination and oppression is rampant within the US (as well as globally). The ongoing black lives matter movement has shown that systemic change needs to be made and replacing RBG with someone who will strive for that change is pivotal for the future of the US. Rushing to fill the seat before the election is not right.
Uighur Muslim Re-education Camps in Xinyang, China
An estimated 1 million Uighur Muslims are detained in so called ‘re-education camps’, where they are being brainwashed and stripped of their religious and ethnic identity and replaced with loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. Hundreds of these camps have been built in the past 3 years throughout Western China within the Xinyang province. They are completely stripping Uighur Muslims of their religion, culture and language. This is a form of torture and brainwashing yet China is portraying it as rehabilitation and education when this is not the case.
Some accounts of the horrific forms of ‘re-education’ Uighur Muslims must undergo are listed below:
Forced to drink alcohol and eat pork, acting against their religion.
Uyghur women are forced to marry a Chinese man and sleep with him in their bed.
China is forcing birth control onto Muslim women to prevent the Muslim population from growing, in even more extreme cases abortions and sterilisations are taking place.
Hijabs are being removed, and those in camps are forced to wear sacks and some are shackled.
People are living in unsanitary and crowded conditions, their human rights have been completely stripped away. On top of this the coronavirus pandemic has catalysed the unsanitary conditions with many prisoners falling ill.
They are shocked and disciplined to support the Chinese Communist Party as if they cannot survive without it, it is the only way. They are told their religion is not right.
BBC Panorama discovered orders sent to the re-education camps: ‘no one escapes, increase discipline and punishment, encourage students to truly transform, promote confession and repentance, make remedial mandarin studies most important.’
This is a hugely horrific and inhumane event, it is a genocide and it had to be stopped. This is a heart-breaking issue that more people need to be talking about and raising awareness on. World leaders are not stepping up in the ways that they should be and action needs to be taken. Trump actually supported the decision to lock up Uighur Muslims and the UK Chinese ambassador claimed it was fake news.
Below are some links to petitions and also the Uyghur Human Rights Project that shares information on this topic in more detail than I have today, as well as Amnesty.
For a lot of these issues, if not all of these issues, a person of privilege is not directly affected. In some cases people believe that because they are not directly affected they do not have to care or support change. Just because something doesn’t directly affect you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care or educate yourself on the topic. It certainly doesn’t mean you should sit in ignorance and silence just because you can.
Millions of people in this world are hurting and have been marginalised because of their identity, whether that be religion, race or sexuality. It is a privilege to not be oppressed and marginalised and we should use that privilege to learn about what’s going on in the world and do what we can to speak out against oppression and injustice. It’s your social responsibility as a decent human being. I myself am a white cis woman, this gives me a level of privilege and ability to speak out against the injustices in society instead of just standing by. It is the right and decent thing to do, we are talking bare minimum, do not praise yourself for it, just be a good human.
I hope you learnt something new about a current global issue and that you will continue to research other global issues that I haven’t mentioned today. I also hope I did these topics justice today by talking about them as best as I could. I may make this a regular post to bring attention to important world issues because I think it’s hugely essential that we stay up to date and do our best to support those who are hurting in any way we can and spread their voices.