It’s the holidays. And not everyone is all holly and jolly for Christmas. Some people don’t feel like spinning that dreidel. And Kwanzaa just can’t happen on principle based on lack of principal with this being a tough year. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one. Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe you’ve lost the holiday spirit. How do you shake the holiday blues?
First - If you truly do believe you have a problem with depression, get professional help. It is important that you recognize the root of your sadness.
- If you are simply blue because it is the holidays. Ignore the calendar. Take the pressure off yourself. This is the first step. Most people get the blues when they start to realize they are under a holiday deadline to ‘be happy.’ It’s stressful to ‘fake’ enthusiasm and pretend you are happy if you are tired, stressed, feeling over-obligated and just are not in the mood. What we don’t realize is that we are forced to be ‘actors’ and pretend to be festive even when we don’t feel like it. This only makes the holidays dreadful and we build resentment from feeling forced into being something we are not.
- If you are sad, address your sadness. The worst part about the holidays is that we tend to bury our feelings underneath the rug and just keep going. This not only is not healthy, but this doesn’t make you any happier if you are sad. If you are sad, honor yourself with a day to be sad. Grief is important to get out. It is nothing to be embarrassed by. Release your feelings. You can journal and express yourself. You can write a blog. Write a letter to a lost loved one or just simply cry. You can listen to music or watch movies that help you release your sadness or even go to the cemetery. Do what you need to do, to get out the pain. Whatever you do, don’t numb it, as it will only make the holidays drag out longer.
- Once you release your sadness, do something that nourishes your soul. What do you like to do? What makes you happy? Maybe you enjoy certain hobbies or you like spending time doing something invigorating or relaxing. Recharge your batteries by doing something for yourself. Make sure you get plenty of sleep. Take your vitamins. Eat well. Be well. Exercise. Once you focus on getting yourself healthy, the blues will seem to dissipate.
- After you have done all of the above, you will have regained your footing to get into the holiday mood. But don’t go overboard. Do ONE THING that you enjoy about the holidays. Maybe you like to go caroling. Or you enjoy decorating. Or maybe you like making cookies. Maybe you like going to church services. Maybe you just need to go see a holiday play or window shop. Whichever ONE THING speaks to you and says ‘this is the holiday season I love’ - then do this one thing. Doing too much tends to bring us down. By baby-stepping into the season and scaling back the celebration, we cherish what the holidays really mean on a real level. Breaking tradition is okay. Start a new one. And just maybe you’ll even find a new mood.
- If none of this seems to bring about a new mood, seek help or be of help. Get yourself to a 12-step meeting or to your local community health service meetings and organizations. You will discover that you are not alone in feeling blue, but you can see for yourself that many are making a pro-active effort to handle their feelings in a positive way by getting help. This will be inspiring for you to address your own mood and grab onto hope in knowing you too, can get through this. Usually we can easily bow out of our own mundane/blues triggering traditions, by being of help to those less fortunate. We will soon see that we have a purpose that is greater than ourselves. When we begin to understand that life is what matters, soon we learn that the blues can be overcome.
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