It’s the holiday season. Stores are stocked with presents and unusually perky clerks. Wreaths and garlands cover banisters, windows and doorways. Lights, twinkling, blinking and sparkling, brighten every neighborhood. Carols sound from every stereo. And people – people are happy. They are wishing strangers a merry Christmas, purchasing exorbitant gifts, throwing endless parties, wearing hideous yet well-loved sweaters and smiling. The yuletide cheer seems to be contagious. Everyone has it . . . except for you.
You have the holiday blues. It’s not uncommon. Many, despite what the overwhelming camaraderie implies, experience the same every year. This, after all, is a time of family, reflection and remembrance. You may be thinking about lost loved ones, missed opportunities, unattained goals, financial shortcomings or health concerns. Regardless, your feelings have plunged to the bottom of the punch bowl. As everyone Feliz Navidad’s around you, you feel alone and sorrowful. But you can beat the holiday blues. Here’s how:
• Acknowledge and express your feelings – accepting and talking about your emotions will help you work through them. You’ll be better able to understand their source and find ways to alleviate the sorrow.
• Focus on the positive – maybe you haven’t accomplished all that you set out to this year, you’ve lost someone close to you or your health has deteriorated, but there are certain to still be some positive aspects to your life. Think about those; think about what you have. Remember the past, yes, but celebrate the present, too.
• Socialize – the contagious holiday cheer is actually contagious. Go to the parties and throw some of your own. They don’t have to be classy, extravagant ordeals. Invite your closest friends over and see who can wear the ugliest holiday sweater. The sequins alone should bring a smile to your face.
• Volunteer – helping others helps you. There’s no better time to give back to your community. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter or simply at your elderly neighbor’s doorstep.
• Don’t overeat or drink – the lethargy and guilt resulting from your gluttony is only going to make you feel worse. Moreover, alcohol will only serve to magnify your negative feelings.
• Make sure they are just the holiday blues – the holiday blues are temporary bouts of sadness. If you have unrelenting sorrow with a loss of interest or pleasure, changes in your appetite, excessive fatigue or restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or guilt, slowed thinking, and/or thoughts of death or suicide, you may have depression. Speak with a medical professional immediately.