- Mental Health
How to Deal With Holiday Blues
Christmas is suppose to be happy, jolly, full of wonder and joy...all that happy, happy, happy stuff! For some people it can be a very stressful, depressing and sad time. I used to love Christmas. But as the years have gone by, and life has changed for me, I don't enjoy it so much anymore. There are so many reasons why people get depressed around Christmas.
The main reason for me is that I have lost all of my family except my brother. While I am blessed to still have my brother, it was my mom who made Christmas special and fun. When she passed away five years ago (I had already lost my dad two years before) I lost all desire to do anything for Christmas. I just wanted it to go away.
As the years have passed I have done the main things...bought presents for my brother and friends and made a special Christmas dinner. I have yet to decorate, except to get one little Santa statue out that my mom and I both loved. I try my hardest not to be a downer for other people and do a good job of it, if I say so myself. But, deep down, when I'm alone, I am depressed about it.
Another problem almost everyone is facing these days is the bad economy and lack of money. I think even some of your "ho, ho, ho" types have become a bit down about Christmas due to this. We all feel pressured to buy, buy, buy! And even though we cut down a little here and there, it's still a worry about how much we are spending. Just another stress added to the whole situation.
What I wanted to discuss though was how to keep yourself from falling into the holiday blues. These are things that have helped me and I hope they help you too.
First of all, stop feeling guilty. It's not your fault that there is some reason you feel down during the holidays. Whatever has brought you to that is just life and not something to feel abnormal about. I felt I had to fake being happy or I was ruining it for everyone else. I finally decided that while I wasn't going to sit around saying "bah humbug" to everyone, I was just going to get through it as best as I could. I could be quiet and natural, instead of trying to be cheerful. I also limit the time I spend at parties or gatherings and leave when I feel I just can't take anymore. Believe it or not, sometimes you might even enjoy yourself a little and knowing that you can escape helps tremendously.
I have to say that as a single woman with no children, this is easier. When there are children involved (or even large family gatherings) it is much harder to get away, so I understand that some of these tips may not work for some, or they may have to be adjusted somewhat.
Make time for yourself. Take time to do something you really enjoy. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and a good book and find an alone spot. Find time to watch your favorite movie and let yourself get lost in that world for awhile. Take a long walk and appreciate the nature around you. Whatever it is, give yourself the gift of time. Time to let down your guard and get away from all the holiday stuff! Time to not have to feel pressured to fake it.
This is an old one, but so true. Helping others does make you feel better, especially people who may be feeling as lonely and out of sorts as you are. I hate the expression "misery loves company" because I think it is unfair. It's more that it helps to be around people who are going through the same thing because you don't feel so alone or weird. You sometimes feel like you're the only one who is feeling this way and it helps tremendously to know you aren't. I would love to start a group for people who have problems with the holidays, just to sit and talk and be allowed to feel the way we do.
Remind yourself that "this too shall pass." The holidays will eventually be over and life can get back to normal. Keep telling yourself "one day closer to the end of all this." I know that sounds gloomy, but it's not. It reminds you that you just have to get through a certain period and then you won't have to think of it anymore. You also won't have to be bombarded with Christmas reminders wherever you go. So, this too shall pass.
Just relax and stop beating yourself up because you aren't glowing with Christmas spirit! Keep yourself busy with things you enjoy doing. You are not alone and you are not to blame. Stop worrying about trying to be happy and just "be". To all of those who feel this way, I wish you a peaceful and guilt free mind this Christmas.