Understanding & Coping with the Christmas Blues
The stress of the festive season often triggers a whole range of uncomfortable feelings which includes sadness, anger and fear for many people. This is a difficult time because there’s high expectations of everyone having to feel merry and of course be generous.
There’re an endless list of things that makes the season to be cheerful very difficult for many of us. Here are some sobering reasons
- The fear of not enough money that includes fear of not having enough money to buy important gifts leads to unnecessary pressure and a set of difficult feelings that include sadness, anger and guilt. The stress of financial challenges is often compounded by shame. When you can’t afford to celebrate, it can feel very disempowering.
- High levels of anxiety and stress. Shopping at this time of the year and planning family dinners when you’re already over-stretched and exhausted.
- Is a big downer. Some of the stats suggest there has been an increase of single people and people living alone in the UK. When millions of others are with their families and close friends, it is very stress and painful for those who are alone especially during the holiday season . This includes single people over 65, when health, age, and mobility can make it more difficult to get out and about and enjoy yourself.
- Those missing deceased loved ones, have even more reasons to grieve.
- When not in contact or speaking to relatives, family gatherings often trigger difficult feelings and emotions. This can often create inner turmoil, whether to connect and communicate or not.
- If you’re recently divorced, Christmas may remind you of happier times together and potentially amplify your sense of collective loss and sadness.
- Trying to please all the key people in your life – Making major decisions what to get them, whom to spend time with and of course what to do – can make you feel very uncomfortable, indecisive.
- Many people experience the blues during gloomy weather due to decreased sunlight, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Some measures you can take to cope with the holiday blues include:
- Make plans in advance, so you know how and with whom your holidays will be spent. Uncertainty and putting off decision-making add enormous stress.
- Shop early and allow time to wrap and mail packages to avoid the shopping crunch.
- Ask for help from your family and children. Women tend to think they have to do everything, when a team effort can be more fun.
- Don’t buy things you can’t afford. Shame prevents people from being open about gift-giving when they can’t afford it. Instead of struggling to buy a gift, let your loved ones know how much you care and would like to, but can’t afford it. That intimate moment will relieve your stress and nourish you both.
- Don’t allow perfectionism to wear you down. Remember it’s being together and goodwill that matters.
- Make time to rest and rejuvenate even amidst the pressure of getting things done. This will give you more energy.
- Spend time alone to reflect and grieve, if necessary. Pushing down feelings leads to depression. Let yourself feel. Then do something nice for yourself and socialize.
- Don’t isolate. Reach out to others who also may be lonely. If you don’t have someone to be with, volunteer to help those in need. It can be very uplifting and gratifying.