“If one were to devise an experimental set of circumstances which would test the integrity of an individual’s mood control, one would invent the year-end holiday season.” Jonathan Himmelhoch (Psychiatrist, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic)
If you or someone you know are feeling down during the holiday season, there’s no need to worry. There are ways to cope with the holiday blues without resorting to unhealthy habits. This article will give you some helpful tips for getting through the holiday season and finding peace of mind.
Stress Depression and the Holiday Season
The holiday season blues are authentic, and according to at least one study, about half of us experience the holiday season blues (the survey reached 786 adults 18 years or older Fall of 2006). But some people can’t find peace of mind, so they suffer the holiday season blues because they entered the holiday season already feeling sad, depressed, anxious, etc. In addition, the seemingly joyous time of the year enhances their depression and anxiety. As a result, many people feel more sad, depressed, and anxious during this time than at any other time of the year.
What causes these feelings? Is it something in our genes that makes us susceptible to the holiday season blues? Or is it something we do, like spending too much money on gifts for family and friends? Are there ways to avoid getting into the holiday season blues?
No other times of the year evoke such strong emotions as this time of year. We may be excited, joyous, and filled with wonder and anticipation at this time of year. We visit family and friends, host parties and gatherings, and spread joy wherever we go during this holiday season. As joyous as we may be, the expectations for a “Rockwell Christmas” haunt even the best of us. Yet, despite this, some of us may feel quite the opposite during this time of the year.
Those who have recently lost a loved one, those suffering from physical or mental health concerns, those who have been separated from their family members, or even those who have become estranged from their families come to mind. But unfortunately, the holidays haven’t always been enjoyable for some people, and many feel trapped in their current lives.
Embrace Peace of Mind to Combat Holiday Season Blues
Regardless of how we feel about the holiday season, this time of the year finds many of us feeling the burden of perfection and a lack of peace. As joyous as we may be, the expectations for a “Rockwell Christmas” haunt even the best of us.
While we still have our day-to-day tasks, we must decorate, buy gifts, and attend social functions. These expectations, especially if we feel obligated, can cause stress and anxiety even in those who enjoy the holiday season. Now imagine the stress and anxiety felt by those who are merely trying to cope with life itself, let alone the added expectation of the season.
How To Help Others Find Peace Of Mind While Coping With The Holiday Season Blues
What can we do to help someone suffering from finding peace of mind during this holiday season?
· Create awareness within yourself and your children that not everyone feels joyous this time of the year. This awareness is not meant to burden us but as a recognition of the reality of others.
· Create an environment where all people feel open to honestly sharing their feelings. While attending or planning parties and gatherings, don’t encourage everyone to participate. Instead, be respectful of those who are having a difficult time participating. Try to plan activities that would allow a person to participate in the degree to which they feel comfortable.
– It is important to know that your expectations of a holiday celebration may differ from those of others. Therefore, be flexible and open to the traditions of others and their feelings during this time. For example, you should consider any family members who have been experiencing a challenging year when you plan the family dinner.
– The space and time to speak, or to refrain from speaking, is up to them. Understand that it may have taken them a great deal of effort to appear in the first place. Be aware that they may have had significant challenges.
– I urge you to be a supportive friend to anyone you know who is afflicted with mental illness or experiencing emotional distress. Be present to them, even if you cannot speak with them. Be sure to never underestimate the positive impact and healing quality of being present. Encourage them to attend small gatherings with you if possible and appropriate. Surround them with people who have their best interests in mind.
– If they do not have expectations placed upon them by themselves or others, you should encourage them to engage in activities that promote their emotional well-being and physical health. Suppose you would like them to understand that prioritizing themselves is not a sign of selfishness. In that case, it is essential for your well-being.
– Take time from the busyness of this season to be an active listener to those who wish to share their feelings. Encouraging and allowing others to share their feelings may be the most helpful thing you can do for them. If they are reluctant to share, lovingly help them by letting them know that you will listen without judgment, regardless of what they wish to talk about and share.
During this holiday season, as many of us join together with our families and friends, let’s be grateful and joyous in our traditions and fellowship. But let’s not forget those emotionally suffering during the holiday season. Being respectful, understanding, and lovingly present is the best holiday gift a person can receive.