Christmas: Is it Really the Best Time of the Year?
Merry Christmas: Not for everyone
Christmas is the best time of the year! But, some people might disagree with that statement. People going through divorces, abused children, homeless adults, and lonely elderly people can find Christmas time more depressing than joyous. It's a time when many things revisit powerful emotions.
Pictures on billboards, decorated windows and homes, bright twinkling lights portray happy families and loving relationships. This is all well and good if you have an income, a healthy relationship, and comfortable lifestyle. Not everyone does. The 2009 economic downturn can attest to real estate foreclosures, lost jobs, defunct businesses, and ruined dreams.
If you haven't had to change your lifestyle, you can't relate to financial or survival hardship. However, many more know and are experiencing hardships they never dreamed would happen to them. Thousands of people lost the roof over their heads (literally), dipped into savings, college, and retirement accounts to stay afloat, only to end up losing everything. For some, their vehicles have become not only their mode of transportation, but their home.
Many are in the mid-life stage or beyond. Losing everything is devastating and humiliating. The tragedy becomes even more traumatic and compounded when a person's age is against them. Most likely, if you're in your 20s or 30s you will bounce back and prosper again. But, if you're in your 50s and 60s, pretty much you've been screwed! Not only are good jobs scarce, many employers don't even take a second look at the resumes of the over 55 crowd.
Suicide rates increase, dramatically, during the Christmas season. Seeing the joy others experience only increases feelings of hopelessness. Christmas cheer, and all that it should be, becomes the straw that broke the camel's back.
If you will be experiencing financial difficulties, loneliness, or Christmas without family, ignoring the fast approaching holiday will not make it go away. But, here's a few ideas that might help to get you through the season.
Don't Buy Into The Hype:
Christmas is the dreams of retailers. Television, movies, and media blatantly turn Christmas into a commercialized cash cow; everything is suggested to be flawless, joyous, and filled with glitter. Avoid falling into this hype because it will only succeed in throwing you deeper into depression.
Keeping exercise levels high and taking in plenty of fresh oxygen can help. You don't need to go to a ski resort, or some fancy bed and breakfast to get away from it all, just get out and take a walk. If possible, enjoy simple things, like walking with your family, kids, and relatives. If family cannot be with you, volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or elderly care facilities. Get involved with others that have also experienced hard times or life changing events.
Create New Traditions:
If you've lost someone you loved, and this will be the first holiday season without them, you need to let yourself grieve. Look for new traditions and try to avoid spiraling downward into a depressed state. It won't be easy, but new traditions with new people can help fill the emptiness you feel.
Most families are not picture perfect. There are conflicts, differences, and arguments. Siblings rarely see eye-to-eye, but if emotions get out of control, no one wants to spend time together. If the holiday gathering or Christmas meal is not something you are looking forward to, try to find ways to shorten the visit or eliminate some family activities.
If you are struggling emotionally, and already know it is more than a mild case of holiday blues, get help. Or, if it's a family member or friend that is suffering, don't be afraid to offer help or reach out to them. There are many people that work suicide hotlines and help centers throughout the holiday season; these will be listed in your phone book.
Never be ashamed or afraid to ask for help. At one time or another, everyone needs help. Put your pride on the back burner until things improve for you.
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