Christmas – Healing the Holiday Blues – 10 Top Tips for Turning the Blues Around!
There is a flip side to the much advertised holiday joy, optimism, hope, generosity, peace on earth and good will to all. For some there is a dark side present known as the holiday blues. It can be filled with self criticism, loneliness, self doubt, stress, anxiety and pessimism.
The images of happy couples and happy families all having the perfect holiday may be a trigger for a spiraling down-hill road of self judgment and emotional pain. These constant images and reminders of happiness can be painful and unsettling or even intense emotional triggers to others. The solution is to recognize your triggers, find ways to respond to these triggers so you can turn them into a positive and have realistic expectations and attainable goals for the festive season. However, it is best to consult a doctor when the feelings of the “blues” linger on for more than a couple of weeks. In which case it may be depression. Left untreated, depression can become a serious and life-threatening disorder.
A number of factors can contribute to the “holiday blues,” including stress, fatigue, troubled family relationships, loss of a loved one, lack of sunlight, images in the media, unrealistic expectations and financial constraints. These factors may lead to feelings of sadness, loneliness, stress, anger or tension. There may be changes in sleep patterns, a lack of energy, headaches, agitation, anxiety, diminished interest in favorite activities, or excessive drinking, eating and feelings of guilt. While others may not feel as fulfilled as one would wish, others get stuck in the blame game, comparing themselves with others and indulging in a pity party “They all look so happy and prosperous why can’t I be, what’s wrong with me?”
Emotional pain is part of being human and we want to be aware of and feel our emotions. Learn from them and let them go. Experts tell us that depression is often frozen anger or grief. You may want to be aware of the symptoms of “depression” and know when you need to get medical help. You can do an on-line self-help test to see where you are. There are several quizzes – Self Assessment Quiz at www.journeyofthehearts.org/jofh/selfdep.htm and the Wakefield Questionnaire www.journeyofthehearts.org/jofh/sakefield.htm available at Journey of the Hearts online healing place. This site is helps those visiting to assess their level of depression.
Here are some coping strategies for dealing with the blues. Remember to make up your own list that you can have on hand and ready to refer to whenever you recognize the feelings of the “Blues” surfacing. Do something on your list and if it doesn’t work try another on the list. If you get to the stage where nothing seems to be helping it’s time to consider an assessment for depression.
1. Choose to surround yourself with supportive and positive people and limit as much as possible your time with negative family, friends or colleagues. If this is difficult choose to change the subject to one that is positive. They will soon get the message or back off. Remember misery loves misery!
2. Give. Yes go give your time and help at a charity or nursing home. It’s amazing how much better you can feel when you give of yourself and help others who are less fortunate than yourself. This is also a wonderful way to rekindle the true spirit of Christmas with the act of selfless giving.
3. If feeling lonely, look at ways to make new friends – join a new club, organization, sports group or self help group or group of interest eg. Knitting, book reading, bicycling, bush walking. Do something you haven’t before. Extend yourself to make new friends. But find something that you have an interest in.
4. Set healthy limits when socializing or attending work or family functions. Make a deal with yourself, for example, to have one small slice of cake and one alcoholic drink and avoid the rounds of nibbles. Give yourself strategies you can put into place when out so you don’t offend your host and don’t overindulge so you feel fatigued and heavy.
5. Set realistic goals and expectations for the holidays. You don’t have to say yes to every invitation. You don’t have to have all your friends over for dinners and parties. Set up a budget and plan ahead with a to do list for each month leading up to the holidays so you wont be overwhelmed when they arrive. Think about and write a list of gifts that don’t involve money such as time, support and sharing of memories such as visiting a relative, sharing photos and memories, reading an inspirational Christmas story with your family each night.
6. Try a new practice to overcome harsh self criticism. Sit, close your eyes and think about a part of you that you find hard to accept or find yourself criticizing. Think of someone that you admire or respect. Visualize them fully accepting you just the way you are, forgiving you for not accepting yourself and telling you you are ok. Then think about the gift in this learning. Ask yourself how it can make you into a better person by accepting and loving this part of you. What is it wanting to teach you about life – look for the positive – it will heal you and make you stronger.
7. Learn how to meditate it can be a good way to get in touch with feelings and a way to release stress in the body and mind. You can start now even by closing your eyes and deeply breathing for 5 -10 minutes each day and watching your thoughts and allowing them to drift off.
8. Find joys to uplift you. Write out a list of things that you remember to be pleasurable. For example it could simply be making a hot chocolate and sipping it as you, take time out and watch the birds in a tree for 5 minutes. It may be watching a funny movie, playing a piece of uplifting music or reading a chapter from a favorite inspirational book.
9. Take up some form of exercise. Experts now tell us that some form of movement 30 minutes four to five times a week can be an effective anti-depressant. Try yoga, an exercise class at a gym, join a walking club or just commit to turn off the TV and go for a vigorous walk each night. Try different types of exercise until you find one your like then commit to it each week. Not only will you feel better emotionally but you will be physically healthier too.
10. Practice gratitude. Value your life, your experiences and the people around you. When you walk remember all that you have to be grateful for and remember to be grateful for the time you have had with loved ones you may have lost this year.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/christmas-healing-the-holiday-blues-10-top-tips-for-turning-the-blues-around-223404.html
About the Author
Visit http://www.TheFamilyYak.com to listen to ‘Conversations with Mrs Claus’ podcast show with Mrs Claus (aka Christmas author Bernadette Dimitrov) – a family show that provides a weekly stream of inspiration, insight and connection to fascinating guests world-wide. Listeners can share in the inspirational insights from experts and coaches about life, Christmas and transformational secrets for living a happy and fulfilled life. It’s a fun show with something for both young and old with prizes to be won! Also come visit http://www.HoHoHoChristmas.com and join ourr free Christmas newsletter & receive free gifts!