You can beat the Christmas blues, Godsy Girl!
Have you noticed the holidays are not very merry for some folks? Maybe, they are the pits for you too.
Holidays don’t erase “life” nor its harsh realities, does it?
Some people have lost loved ones to death, dispute or divorce.
Still, you have others who build the holidays up so much in their imaginations, they crash when the day(s) don’t measure up to what they hoped they would be like.
Then you have holiday loneliness.
Loneliness during holiday season is a real thing.
Ironically, I don’t think loneliness has much to do with relationship status either. A person can be married with a huge family and still feel lonely within it.
No judging, Christians!
Hey, the holidays suck for some people and no one should judge them for it. People should be allowed to feel what they feel.
In this day of gratitude journals and gratitude activities, it may be hard for some people to admit they simply don’t like the holidays. I personally think it’s ok.
I don’t, however, think it’s OK to remain in a state of depression throughout the holiday season (or any season, for that matter). When I feel this way, I have to do certain things to ensure I bounce out of it.
For one thing, i have to intentionally frame November to January into a season that brings me joy, or at least peace with during my current situation.
I don’t struggle with this as much as I did when I was a single mother. But, I remember being very intentional about shifting the way I thought during those seasons so I wouldn’t be depressed. Let me share what worked for me.
First, I controlled my thinking.
“No pity parties allowed” is a phrase I would literally repeat to myself in my mind. Self talk is very important. At least it helped me.
Here are some other things i did:
1. Everyone else is not (NOT) experiencing a storybook Christmas.
Everyone is NOT living a Hallmark Channel holiday movie! Get real!
Movies, and social media can paint unrealistic pictures.
Remember Facebook is not an all-inclusive analysis into other people’s lives. Nah, it’s just a snippet, a piece of their world they CHOOSE to share.
Everyone breathing air through their lungs is engaged in some form of struggle – whether they post it or not! No comparisons with what you think other people’s lives are like.
Be happy in your current season. Find the best of it and focus on that. There is a blessing somewhere in it. If you’re alone, remember some people are also alone and are very ill…battling for their lives and health. Others are alone with no home or family anywhere! Be grateful for your blessings. Focus on them.
2. Banish the ghosts of Christmas past.
Want to be good and depressed?
Let me tell you what will depress you for sure – pondering and glorifying the “beauty and wonder” of past holidays.
Whatever is going on, accept your current state of being and find something good in it. Somewhere, someone wishes they had your life and maybe even your problems. If you lost a beloved parent, someone wishes they had a parent to love and lose it heir lifetime.
Can you imagine living your entire life and never having a parent?
Some people have that experience. I know some people who have.
Cherish the past memories and revel in them. Thank God someone loved you. Take the rest of the process the day-by-day until you heal.
But, don’t allow depression and grief to ruin your current season. Try to focus on the good things.
No pity parties allowed.
The keys to not being depressed this holiday season is in shaping your expectations and excepting life as it is.
What if this year’s Christmas pales in comparison to the former ones? It’s okay.
You can still enjoy this Christmas in some fashion.
Again, focus on the blessings and live in the now. Better yet, reach out in kindness to someone else to bless them.
Call an old friend, just because.
Volunteer…to be a blessing.
3. Manage your expectations and focus on what is likely to happen. I really want your opinion about this.
For me, I consider past behavior to help shape my expectations.
Even though my brother may not work Christmas, he likely will. He’s a hardworking man. So, I shouldn’t be too disappointed if he opts for that post office extra loot. This means I cannot be bummed when he doesn’t stop by or doesn’t stay very long.
My point is may you shouldn’t allow some fairytale dream to dominate your mind.
For example, you can expect your adult kids to come home Christmas. But, they may not…especially if they normally don’t.
You may expect your holiday meal to turn out one way only to have it turn out another.
You may hope folks will help you cleanup the kitchen after dinner, but if they haven’t in the past, they likely won’t this year either. Shape your expectations.
Avoid the holiday disappointments by keeping it real.
May I say it one more time: keep your expectations realistic about this holiday season. God can do anything, but sometimes, we have to accept life for what it is while He is at work. Amen?
Remember, YOU (not other people, not Facebook, not movies, not past experiences) define your ability to be happy this holiday season.
Secondly, live in the present, not the past. Finally, keep your expectations based in reality and you will have a great holiday season!
That’s what worked for me and still does. 🙂