by Micki Lavin-Pell, Marriage and Family Therapist and Relationship Coach
Does all this holiday cheer make you want to crawl into bed and turn off the lights? Does it help to know you’re not the only one?
Popular culture likes to make it look like the holidays are all filled with warmth and love and holiday cheer but for some – this isn’t the case.
Actually, studies have shown many dread the holidays and all the pain it triggers. The holidays often inspire anxiety stress and depression – these feelings can be brought on by the extra financial stress of having to buy expensive gifts, of having to face family members who illicit negativity, or feelings of loneliness. The holiday blues are real and data suggests that 38% of people have feelings of stress and sadness even while accompanied by feelings of love and warmth.
Here are my tips for allowing yourself to feel holiday happiness while banishing the blues:
Recall what brings you joy and spend more time doing those things while avoiding triggering moments
- Find free holiday activities, such as lighting ceremonies, window display shows, and sing-alongs instead of using your limited finances on activities.
- Limit drinking to official holiday parties.
- Eat a holiday donut here and there and don’t beat yourself up for it. Eat it only if it’s REALLY worth it …if not pass over it and save the calories for when it truly counts.
- Spend time with people who make you happy and avoid toxic “friends” who bring you down.
- Reach out to an old friend who you might have lost touch with and rekindle an old friendship.
- Don’t say yes to everyone just because you are agreeable. If you truly don’t want to do it, Say so. And Spend your time doing things that give you pleasure
- Make time for good deeds. Making others happy always rubs off.
- Instead of dreading the parties which make you uncomfortable, throw a party with your own rules on your own turf.
- Be grateful for the good you do have and try not to think much about what you are lacking- focus on what’s going well and let it build you up.
- Plan your next vacation so you have something to look forward to.
- Be the person you want to be around, and it will magically draw you to people who make you feel good.
- Know that you aren’t the only one feeling crappy and reach out to someone who might need a supportive shoulder to cry on.
Please share this list with them and set goals to get you in a more positive place.
If this doesn’t help, acknowledge that perhaps this darkness is more than just the run of the mill holiday blues. Allow yourself to seek the help you need. Make time for healing so you can bring the light in and let yourself shine!