No matter the issue or situation, you can find joy and happiness this holiday season too!
Many people think of the holidays as a merry time of year for celebration, family, friends, and fun. Thoughts of trimming the tree, spending time with loved ones, buying family and friends gifts to express ones feelings, and not worrying about expense is the picture perfect holiday and image. Some people get to experience that image while others experience something in between. On the other hand, there are others who don’t experience either.
Sadly, there are people who don’t experience the merriment and joy during the holidays, they experience the exact opposite filled with dread, disappointment, and depression. After doing much research and dealing directly one on one with clients and realizing the source of their depression, I have found that there are three direct correlations to the holiday depression.
*1. Relationship issues: Relationship issues can cause a rather happy and joyful person to be filled with depression, angst, anxiety, and disappointment. The holiday season is the time for spending time with loved ones especially one’s spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend. Spending time with one’s mom, dad, brothers, and sisters is also expected. However, if a person is experiencing a major issue with one of the people listed above, it can cause much stress and strain and a feeling of why. Why the holidays? Why me? What do I have to celebrate and be joyful? Thinking about how you truly feel about your family and the relationship in question is your first responsibility to yourself. Don’t lose sight and think that you are the only person dealing with family issues this holiday season. Many people are currently dealing with on going family issues and working to find a resolution.
*2. Financial issues: The holiday season is the time to buy gifts and show our loved ones and friends how we truly feel about them. That is a true statement for some and not others. (Don’t be forced into doing something you don’t believe or are unable to do.) Just because it seems that everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean everyone is doing it. If you believe that buying gifts for your friends and loved ones is essential, you must decide on how much you can spend and be financially responsible. Many people want to buy expensive gifts for family and friends and can’t afford the expense and buy the gifts anyway. Being truthful and honest with your finances is clearly important. When we go out and buy anyway and put it on credit, we still must deal with that expense in one month, it doesn’t go away.
*3. Divorce, Death, and Distance issues: The 1st holiday without a loved one due to divorce, death, or distance. This can be an extremely difficult holiday for an individual that is experiencing this situation. When we go through a divorce, our entire world is turned upside down. With divorce can come: limited/no time with children, obviously limited/no time with ex-spouse, limited/no time with ex-in-laws, and sometimes lose of friends who sided with your ex-spouse or left the relationship all together. After a divorce a person can feel as if they have no home and can feel uprooted and the impact is felt times two over the holidays.
The death of a spouse or relative can make joy a difficult thing. During the holidays, the time to spend with your loved ones, it can be dreadful to know that you are spending it alone or missing a loved one. Distance from loved ones can be very lonely in nature. If you or your family recently moved and you are on one side of the world and they are on the other, you must come up with a plan to not feel so lonely and isolated.
These are the ways to handle all three contributing factors to holiday depression:
- Acknowledge your feelings. When you acknowledge your true feelings and say them out loud, you are one step closer to feeling better about the situation.
- Get support! Talking to your family and friends and building a network to alleviate being alone or lonely is helpful. This action might not only benefit you and should benefit the others in your group. Talk to your family and friends and let them know what you are going through. Remember, people can’t read your mind. If you don’t talk, they may feel that you don’t want to talk or you are just fine. Opening up to others is the second step to bettering these situations.
- Don’t over do it when it comes to spending. Spend what you can afford to spend, no more. Instead of buying lavish gifts, offer to help with babysitting, cooking dinners, picking their children up from school, or any way that you know they could use the help. Doing something as a gift is a lovely gesture and one that others really pay attention to and usually don’t get.
- Volunteer your time. During the holiday season, the need for volunteers skyrockets. When we help others we get a different and real perspective on life. Because most people only know their life, issues can feel insurmountable and impossible to deal with. When we put ourselves around others who are in need, we can see our life and all it’s splendor. When we see others with less than ourselves in one-way or another, we begin to be more thankful and more at peace.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol increases depression because of its obvious components. Alcohol can make you more vulnerable to the issues at hand and can make a person less inhibited and more likely to make ‘bad’ choices that will cause more pain. Any time a person is depressed in any way, alcohol will only increase that depression and make it even more difficult to deal with.
- Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins within our bodies. It creates a feeling of well-being and stability. Even just 10 minutes a day of exercise can make all the difference in the world. Being physically active for 10 minutes a day can help you relax and put things into a more proper perspective.
Tips: More people commit suicide during the holidays, and the three main reasons is due to relationship issues, financial issues, or lose of a loved one due to death, divorce, or distance. Create a new family tradition and volunteer in memory of someone the family lost. When you volunteer, it lifts you mentally, emotionally, changes your thought focal point, and you are creating a little more happiness for another human being. Most importantly, remember you are human and you have feelings and emotions. It’s ok to be down sometimes, heck everyone is sometime. Let yourself morn certain situations, be honest with your true feelings, and begin getting on the other side of the issue. You have much personal power to carry through even the most difficult of trials. Be positive with yourself and try and see the silver joyful lining. Time can mend a broken heart. While you are mending, let others be there and help you because you might be doing the same for them in the future.