This post was most recently updated on February 22nd, 2014
I feel strongly that it is an important issue to consider during this time. We get messages from everywhere that the holiday season is supposed to be a blissful time. And for some it is. But what happens when you slip into the Holiday Blues?
The following are reasons why you might feel this way… and please know that you are Not Alone:
1. Loss of a loved one.
2. Loss of your job, or there isn’t money like there used to be.
3. Memories. Sometimes memories are good or not so good. They can be neuro-linked to this time of year.
4. Things are not what they used to be.
5. I cannot keep up with my usual traditions.
6. I don’t have a partner to share the holidays with.
7. I am supposed to be happy.
8. I am stressed because I have to travel.
9. There is no time to do my holiday shopping. I’ll never get it all done.
10. I should be visiting ______ (fill in the blank)
11. Everyone is joyous while the music is playing… everyone except me.
12. I am alone.
13. I am hosting so many people, I just cannot handle it.
14. I have to spend time with my family and they drink too much. I feel scared.
15. I feel so depressed.
If you resonate with one of these feelings, here are some things to think about.
If you have lost a loved one, whether it was recently or years ago, remember, they have gone to a better place. You can construct a make-shift memorial to them. Light a candle in front of their picture. Keep in mind not to spiral down if you had words left unsaid before their passing. You can write a letter or even say things out loud. You can find some way to honor them. Meanwhile, know that some day you will be together.
Loss of a job or having less money this time of year can get to you, but if it is any comfort, know that many people are in the same boat. You can create hand made gifts. Heck, I’d rather have home made cookies than a new shirt! It is a gift of love and kindness, then it will be unique and special. Take pride in what you can make with your own two hands.
Memories can creep up on you. This time of year does bring back memories. Maybe you are expecting it to be like your greatest memory of the season. Maybe those memories are painful. Whatever it is, know that it is only a memory. Do not let it take over your thinking patterns. Instead, let it go if it persists in your mind. Today is the day you create something special that will create a new memory. Do something out of the box. Be original! Personally, my memories of this time of year can be painful. Last year I purchased a tacky retro white Christmas tree and decorated it with all pink decorations. The family just shook their head, but I created my own joy!
When you think that things are not what they used to be and get melancholy about it, remind yourself that those things are the past. Perhaps they are not what they used to be. You may have experienced joy as a child, but you are all grown up. You can always count on one thing and that is change. So think about that, and focus on the present instead of the past.
I cannot keep up with my usual traditions. Hey, neither can I. So what if you can’t – make new ones. Whatever the traditions may be, your situation may have changed. So don’t fight it. It is like walking in water. Go with the flow and create something that makes you happy. Do it in a different way.
I don’t have a partner to share the holidays with. Oh boy, that’s a biggie. You hear the songs, the movies are all about cheer and love and magic. If you don’t have a partner and are feeling blue, just think of how many have partners that are dysfunctional. They may be in a bad relationship and this season only heightens bad behavior. Consider yourself lucky and in time know you will find the “right” partner for you.
If you are stressed about holiday shopping and/or travel, or even hosting people, just take it one step at a time. Start early to prevent last minute cramming. Look at that list of things you have to do and do them a little at a time. Checking off a list is a great feeling.
If you are feeling alone, or feeling depressed, it is pretty much normal this time of year. This is the time of year where more people are depressed and feel alone. There is so much help out there, like counseling and support groups where people have gone through the same feelings as you. Reach out, they are there for you.
If you have to spend time with your family and there is an addictive person or persons in the crowd, you may feel uncomfortable or even sick. You can change your plans and do something else. You can cut your time short. But whatever you do, keep a check on your coping mechanisms. Remember, it is their problem not yours. You do not need to be a victim of unacceptable behavior. You have that right as a human being.