Posts Tagged ‘Holiday Blues’
Why the Holidays Stir Such Deep and Troubling Emotions
The holidays are a magical time of year. It is a time for family and friends to get together, and spend time simply appreciating the fact that these special people are in their lives. For most people, the holiday season is something they look forward to for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, for those who have suffered a loss during the holiday season, or those who don’t especially look forward to meeting that one special family member, the holiday season is actually a time of dread.
Everyone deals with this in their own manner, but if you’re one of those people who are struggling to find out what that method of handling the holidays work for you, here are a few tips to help you beat holiday stress.
Know what you can handle, and also what you can’t
When we dread a holiday, it is often for a very good reason. If it’s your first Christmas without a mother, a father, a daughter or son, facing the holiday can seem impossible. It’s okay to skip family traditions if they are too painful, or to move things around to help ease memories. Sometimes, a gift to the person who has died can help ease the pain. If they were an unabashed animal lover, donating to the animal shelter in her honor can be a way of remembering them during the holiday.
If a family member has consistently ruined every family gathering for years, don’t invite them. It’s okay to not deal with someone if they make everyone else miserable, and that goes for whether you are recovering from a loss or have simply come to realize that this one person is why no one wants to get together for Thanksgiving.
Last of all, if it is the stress of holiday shopping or putting together the feast that gets you stressed—consider opting out of these things. You can ask someone else to host, get a relative to help you do gift shopping for kids, or if kids are not involved make it clear you don’t plan to do a gift exchange this year.
Beat holiday stress – take time for yourself
The giving season is about thinking of others, however many times it feels like you give all you have and then greedy people demand even more. It’s okay to take time out to rest, reset your mind, or simply to enjoy the season in your own way. It’s not selfish to take a mental health day, even if that day is close to the holidays. You are important too, and the season will be less festive for everyone if you are miserable.
If it’s the loss of someone making you feel pain, seeing a therapist during this time can be very beneficial. Grief can be a very hard emotion to work through, and sometimes we need a little help to get through it happy and healthy.
The holidays are a happy time of year. Take steps to beat holiday stress. Make sure both you and your family have a happy holiday season —even if that takes making changes to enjoy the season.
The Holiday Blues
No it’s not a song on Bruce Springsteen’s latest album. It’s an issue millions of people struggle with.
Did you know 2/3 of women report they are depressed around the holidays? (NWHRC Study)
I think this is due in part to expectations and internalizing that they are not meeting them. Every year women think, “this year, I will get it all done”. But then so quickly December 25th sneaks up and the time has passed. Part of getting out of this rut is giving yourself …
Grace to get up and try again.
Grace to say, “I can’t do it anything and it’s going to be okay” or grace to say, “ I will do a little bit and accept that it is enough”.
Grace that Christmas isn’t about looking “perfect” or acting “perfect” on social media.
Grace that Christmas is only about love.
And sharing love, even in small doses.
You would be surprised how good you will feel if you made 3 people smile today. Try it!
This is especially true if you know someone who suffers from depression, it isn’t necessarily your job to make them happy, but acknowledging that they matter and sharing a little encouragement can go a long way.
A solution to turning your holiday blues around is to not spend the entire time isolated if this is your struggle.
“Social isolation is one of the biggest predictors of depression, especially during the holidays. … People who have feelings of disconnectedness often avoid social interactions at holiday time. Unfortunately, withdrawing often makes the feelings of loneliness and symptoms of depression worse.“
Small doses of getting out and participating can give you a sense of accomplishment. Driving by some lights or attending a candle light service is enough.
Find some joy this holiday by giving joy. And if you can’t give joy because of where you are at…
It’s going to be okay.
Steve Brand, Roswell Therapist