Coping With the Holiday Blues

Christmas is a time that is all about family. We see family that we have problems with which brings out dysfunction and stress. We see family that we do not really want to be around. We see family and friends that we love. We also feel sad over family or friends that are lost or estranged. We feel bad if we are not financially able to buy the gifts we want. All these things trigger thoughts and feelings that can lead to depression.

Depression is a common reaction to overwhelming circumstances that feel hopeless. Depression has the following symptoms: low self-esteem, sadness, a lack of motivation, excessive guilt, ruminating thoughts, a loss of pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable, hopelessness and sometimes, suicidal thoughts. For some, it may just be feeling dissatisfied, irritable, negative, and sad.

Depression can be caused by your thoughts patterns and / or a chemical imbalance in the brain's neurochemicals. If it is a chemical imbalance, anti-depressants are usually necessary. Professional counseling can help with changing the thoughts that are contributing to the hopelessness. If it is situational, it will pass when the circumstances change or in this case, when the holidays are over.

Here are some common things you can do to agree with your holiday blues:

Accept your circumstances as they are. The image we carry of the holidays is an unrealistic ideal. Most people do not have perfect circumstances. They are normal people who have problems. Do not have any expectations. Accept whatever circumstances you find yourself in and adapt to them. You can celebrate on any day you choose and any way you choose. You can create new ways to celebrate. You can find new people to be involved with. You can create new traditions. You can even decide not to celebrate the holidays at all. Change your expectations to match your reality and you will instantly feel relief.

Focus on your life today. The holidays often bring out increased loneliness because of the focus on family and intimate relations. This often triggers feelings of loss and with it the grieve process. One of the stages of grief is bargaining wherein you spend emotional and mental energy trying to figure out what happened and what could have been done to change it. If you know you have worked through your divorce and relationship problems, do not allow yourself to revisit what you have already done. Do not look back; look forward.

Focus on the positive. If you allow your thoughts to get stuck on what is wrong and bad, you will feel worse. Instead, focus on what is right and good. No matter how bad things are, there are things in your life that you can celebrate. If you choose to keep your perspective positive instead of negative, you will have less to be depressed about.

Stop comparing yourself to other people. When you look at other people who have what you wish you had, you feel worse about your circumstances. The solution: Do not compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone is different and you do not know everything going on in other people's lives. When you see the outside, you assume that the inside is perfect. It most often is not.

Get involved with other people. Depressed people often give in to the depression by pulling away from others and by pulling back from involvement. Do not allow yourself to isolate. Get involved with projects, people, and causes even when you do not feel like it. Stay busy and you will find your spirits lifted through the connections, the activities, and the support. There are plenty of places to volunteer in the holidays or even seasonal jobs you can do. Force yourself to do something.

Focus on the Reason for the Season. We celebrate Christmas to remember Jesus' birth. The reason he came into our world is because it is broken. We are broken people with imperfect lives and relationships. He was born to die for our sins and to give us eternal hope. You do not have to have a perfect life to rejoice during the Christmas season!

You do not have to have the holiday blues; you can purposely do things that will enable you to agree that will keep them away. Happy Holidays!



Source by Karla Downing

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