Now that I have your attention, I want to talk about that time of year again, when most people get to take a bit of a break to be spent with family and friends.
For others, like those on our thin blue line, it mostly means working earlies, lates or nights, trying to squeeze in appearances with family and friends over this Xmas period.
And then there are those, who find this festive season the worst. No, I am not talking about the Grinch in every police station up and down the country, but rather others, our colleagues who find this period one of the lowest times of their year.
I recall only last year writing my Xmas Blog, warning about Blue Xmas and the need to look out for colleagues, and then on Xmas Eve receiving the tragic news that one of our own sadly took their own life.
You might ask why some find this period so depressing or low? Well, if I am honest, it’s really easy and doesn’t take much to be fair.
• A marriage or relationship breakdown, leaving you spending this first Xmas without that loved one or your family unit;
• The loss of a close family member, loved one or friend, which means this is the first Xmas without them;
• The continuous battle to keep your head above water because of debt and now you face the additional pressures of the associated costs of Xmas;
• The inability to feel joy, love or hope when everyone else is during this period, because you suffer with depression.
I am sure many of you can relate to these examples or many others, through your own personal experiences of them. A lot of cops have been divorced (at least once), remember the effect it had on you? If we are honest with ourselves, it really was a bit crap wasn’t it?
What about those of us who lost a loved one, remember how crappy that Xmas was without them?
So when you start thinking about the why’s and the how’s, you begin to understand exactly the reasons for this being a blue period for some; it probably was the same for you at some point, and this could even be how you feel right now.
Last year I asked you to look out for your colleagues, who may actually fall into this category, to look out for them as you look out and after members of the public on a daily basis.
This year, I want you to do a bit more of that, but with bells and whistles please.
If you know a colleague who is going to have a Blue Xmas, look out for them, look after them.
Why not invite them to Xmas dinner or take them out for a drink; there is no need for anyone to feel alone this Xmas when we have such a big family. And let’s not forget, something as simple as asking someone how they are, could be exactly what they need, that listening ear, that comforting presence or that opportunity to talk.
This year my marriage irretrievably broke down, crushing me. This year my father suffered a massive stroke and will never be the same again.
This year sucks, this Xmas is going to be crappy.
This year won’t beat me, break me or keep me down, because I am fortunate enough to have a strong network of friends and colleagues who continue to look out for me, who will keep me up when I am feeling down, who I am stronger with than without. I openly thank them for this.
So my Xmas wish?
Be that friend. Be that colleague. Be that gift.