Beating the Holiday Blues

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 7th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/128jvlkh/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

Instead of feeling jolly this time of year, some people feel miserable. Learn how to beat the holiday blues and how to enjoy the Christmas season.

Holiday Blues


December is supposed to be a fun month for everybody. There are Christmas presents to buy, holiday parties to attend and delicious food and drink to enjoy. But some people find this time of year painful. They've got the holiday blues, also known as holiday depression.
Sometimes, the holiday blues are caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Some people feel down and less energetic because these are literally the darkest days of the year. See my article on SAD.
There are several other reasons why people feel down this time of year. The good news is there are ways to cope with holiday depression no matter what the cause is.

Causes of the Holiday Blues


For some reason, people who have lost loved ones this past year or in recent years find some or all of their pain and grief gets rekindled in December. Maybe it's the fact that you are putting up a Christmas tree without your loved one. Maybe there will be an empty place at your holiday table. Maybe you won't be shopping for a gift for your loved one. Just making up a Christmas list without that one name on it can be devastating.
This is a time of year when people look back at the past year and look ahead to the new year. Maybe you feel some regrets about how this year has worked out for you. You wanted a promotion at work but didn't get it. This was supposed to be the year you lost weight, got in shape and got your finances in order. None of those goals materialized. Maybe you hoped to be married or in a relationship by now. Instead, it's the holidays, and you have no date or spouse to take to the holiday parties.
There's also a lot of stress and pressure at this time of year. People's expectations are sky high. They think they need to buy the perfect gift, to decorate the house in a manner which would make Martha Stewart proud and to cook a holiday feast which looks like it could be featured in the pages of a magazines.
There's also pressure to smile and be happy despite the stress. In the words of the classical carol, "Deck the Halls," "Tis the season to be jolly." But if you don't feel jolly, you can feel even worse. Everyone else is happy; why not me.

Beating the Holiday Blues


Holiday depression can be difficult to handle but there are ways to cope. If you miss a loved one this time of year, light a candle, say a prayer or share a story about that person during the holiday dinner. Visit their grave and put up a Christmas wreath.
Make a charitable donation or do some volunteer work in memory of your lost loved one. Think of what they liked to do. For example, if your grandmother loved to plant flowers, volunteer to plant a garden outside a nursing home, school or hospital. You could even organize a group of friends, relatives or co-workers and do the volunteer planting together.
Here are more ways to cope with grief during the holidays:

Even if you haven't lost a loved one recently, consider volunteering during the holiday season. Sing carols at a nursing home, ring a bell for the Salvation Army or pick up a toy or two for Toys For Tots. Volunteering is good for the soul and gets your mind off yourself and your troubles.
Lower your expectations and go easy on yourself. Nobody expects a dinner which the late Julia Child could have cooked or a Christmas tree decorated so well that it inspires a magazine cover. Do your best but don't feel you have to be perfect.
Look for ways to cut back on the Christmas season craziness. Do you really need to send all those cards? Are there people on your card list who you haven't spoken to in years? Can you reduce your gift list? Do you really need to bake all those cookies? Maybe you can bake a few dozen less. Or buy the cookies. Who's going to know?

Get Help If You Need It


Don't hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.
There is no shame in making an appointment with a psychologist, social worker or counselor.
If you are in crisis, call 1-800-444-HOPE. Counselors can help you over the phone.
Remember to go easy on yourself this time of year, honor the memory of lost loved ones and volunteer. Doing so can help you have a merry Christmas instead of a blue one.

Here's one I did on having a stress-free Thanksgiving.
Here's one on having a guilt-free Thanksgiving.

Attribution:
The video came from You Tube.
The pictures came from Morguefile.

Tags

Christmas, Depressed, Depression, Holiday, Holiday Tips, Holidays

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
7th Dec 2013 (#)

yes Connie this is seriously full of wisdom and will help many at this time....shared..

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
8th Dec 2013 (#)

My ext fam and friends lost many people in the past 11 months, so this holiday is hard. Thanks for this.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
8th Dec 2013 (#)

Carolina and Phyl, I am so glad this is helpful. It can be such a tough time for so many people.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
8th Dec 2013 (#)

Thank you for sharing tis post very intersting and indeed this time a year many can be afected for its effects of the season, Nice one my dear Connie!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
8th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks, Fern. It can be tough for a lot of people around this time of year.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
8th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Connie; wonderful insight about the other reactions to the holidays, well thought out. We in the recovering community try to be more available to each other as it oftentimes represents a sense of loss, guilt and wished for better outcomes. A lot of our meeting places actually hold meetings every 2 hours on Christmas Eve and Day so that there is a safe place for people to congregate and not face a potential relapse alone. Christmas Day usually means a pot luck dinner for fellowship when families are gone or not yet healed enough to join together. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
8th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks, Marilyn. I think it's great that there's extra support out there for folks in the recovering community. Wonderful to hear.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Dec 2013 (#)

I see around me loneliness is a factor for holiday blues. The younger generation would like to be on their own ignoring what we call in Asia the extended family. The older generation feel lost and ignored. But we have to buck up to survive! Thanks for the tips, Connie - siva

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author avatar Connie McKinney
15th Dec 2013 (#)

Agreed, Siva. There is so much loneliness in our society. We all need to reach out to each other and connect.

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