Holiday Stress and Holiday Blues
The year-end holidays can represent different things to different folks. For some, they represent a time to get together with friends and family. A time for sharing the joys of the season. Or, a time to cement or build life-long remembrances. But for others, the holidays can represent a very different time. Those struggling with losses or have undergone conflict and upheaval can find the holidays a very stressful time. Dealing with painful emotional issues can bring on a case of the “holiday blues.” And just knowing that others might not share or even understand one’s misery can intensify those blues.
Folks recently wrested from a dysfunctional relationship can feel particularly bluesy during the holiday season. They can succumb to significant depression. They may even wonder whether they’ll ever find joy again.
Finding the joy
So how do you find any joy amidst the holiday blues? Experts vary on this. But they agree that whether you’re dealing with holiday-related stress and anxiety or trying to cope with a recent loss, you can do some things to put some happiness back in your life. So if you or someone you know has a case of the holiday blues, here are some ways the research suggests can help anyone find the joy again:
Learn to Accept.
- Some things are simply not in your power to control. Accepting that can make all the difference. Blaming yourself and ruminating will only compound your misery. So, finding room in your heart for acceptance is key. That means accepting yourself as well as your situation. That doesn’t mean you give up hope. It just means you acknowledging circumstances as they are. Moreover, it means you refuse to make matters worse by heaping negative aspersions upon yourself. You don’t have to be happy about your circumstances. But it doesn’t help to indict yourself or your character.
Take good care of yourself.
- Dealing effectively with the holiday blues demands proper self care. You have to eat right and sleep right, as difficult as that might be. Get as much exercise as possible, too. And take time to relax. You might even pamper yourself a bit. Break open a book you’ve been wanting to read. Take a warm, relaxing bath. Have a nourishing drink. Treat yourself to a not-so-serious movie. When we’re in tough times, it’s imperative that we tend well to our most basic needs.
Do the things you love.
- Reach out to an old friend. Window-shop just for the fun of it. If you have to be at home and alone for one reason or another, surround yourself with things you love. Put your favorite music on the stereo. Watch one of your favorite old movies. Shape your environment in a way that pleases you. Make your surroundings as pleasant and comforting as possible.
Shed some light on things.
- Many folks are negatively affected by the shorter, grayer days of winter. So, keep the lights on. Open the blinds and lift the shades. Light a fire. Bring as much light into your living space as possible. Even if it’s cold out, if it’s sunny, bundle up and take a walk outdoors. Sunshine and light can brighten your spirits as well as your day. In addition, the amount of time you spend in the light can really help alleviate any depression you may have.
Give of yourself.
- Facing difficult circumstances or loneliness makes it easy to feel sorry for yourself. However, that typically only worsens the holiday blues. So, while you might not feel very inclined to do so, you’ll do well to find time to give. Besides, giving of yourself is what the season is supposed to be about, anyway. But it can also boost your spirits immensely. So, forget yourself and your woes for a while. Instead, involve yourself in something that positively impacts others. When you give of yourself, you bring the best of gifts. And what you receive in return makes it all well worth it.
Focus on what really matters.
- It may sound trite, but some things don’t really matter that much. Not in the grand scheme of things, anyway. So often, life’s little irritations are what get to us. Directing our focus away from such things and staying centered on what really counts makes all the difference.
The Joy is ultimately in Love
Life is full of trials and tribulations. And sometimes they can put a real damper on your usual holiday spirit. You might find it a challenge just to get through the season with a minimum of stress. But remembering true meaning of the season helps. After all, it’s not about all the festivities or the tokens given or received. Ultimately, real spirit of the holiday rests in the the greatest gift of all: the gift of love. And that’s one gift you always have the power to share, even in difficult times. Remember that, and you’ll find the joy amidst any holiday blues.
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