Holidays are wonderful – or they’re not. People are excitedly buying gifts and sharing exuberant moments together – or they are feeling rejected, neglected, sad and lonely.
If you have lots of caring family and friends, each excitedly searching for the perfect gifts for each other including you, then holiday time can feel like a whirlwind of energetic activities. You may see a Santa shaking some jingle bells and you smile with fond memories of sitting on Santa’s lap as a child. You stop for a cup of coffee or tea and you hear familiar Christmas songs about trees and adventures and happy family times. You watch a movie about family members traveling from near and far to get together at one happy home. And everyone is smiling and happy just being together.
But for you, holiday time may exacerbate whatever problems you have been having in your life. If you are struggling to pay your bills, if you are facing a lawsuit or fearing foreclosure, if your business is failing or you were recently fired, if your significant other or spouse just cheated or left you, if your child is being difficult…. No matter how happy everyone around you seems to be, for any number of reasons (including physical illness, mental illness, rejection, abuse, loneliness, addictions or just not having a good friend or close family), you may be feeling sad and all alone. And you probably believe you are really all alone. But you are not.
The truth is, there are many, many people feeling sad and lonely at this most festive time of the year. The good news is that there is a lower rate of suicide in December leading up to Christmas. However, one large Danish study revealed that there was a 40% increase in suicides after Christmas. So perhaps people are pulled along into family and group gatherings during the holidays and become more isolated afterwards. Isolation is one of the leading causes of depression, especially at holiday time.
Solutions To The Holiday Blues
So what can you do about it if you are feeling sad, lonely, lethargic, neglected, alone, insignificant or some similar feeling? Find a way to stop focusing on what’s wrong with you and your life. Start focusing out there at the world.
- Reach out to others. You may be amazed to discover that many people who are walking around with a smile are secretly feeling sad and alone.
- Watch funny movies. Buy some popcorn and a healthy drink (I would skip the soda) and let yourself laugh and laugh and laugh at the absurdity of life.
- Focus on what you DO have not what you Don’t have. Feel the gratitude of being alive. Make a list of all things you have and have had in your life that you are grateful for. If a relationship has ended and you feel heartbroken, take a moment to appreciate how wonderful you DID feel at an earlier point – and be grateful for that. Not everyone gets to have a loving relationship, even for a limited time period.
- Go for long walks in crowded places and observe the other people. Notice those who appear to be less fortunate than you, e.g., someone with an obvious disability or a cast revealing some broken bones, someone working at a lower paying job than yours, someone obviously less attractive than you. Whatever you can find to remind yourself
- Watch the news or read biographies of people who have suffered greatly in their lives – and managed to overcome the obstacles and difficulties
- Seek support wherever you can get it. If you can afford it, now might be a good time to contact a counselor or therapist for even just a few sessions to share your thoughts and feelings.
- Find a place to volunteer – hospitals, children’s programs, addiction centers, churches, synagogues, animal shelters
- Do unexpected good deeds for others. Pay a toll for someone behind you. Buy a cup of coffee or croissant for a stranger. Give your waiter a double tip.
Let’s help each other to have a wonderful holiday season this year. If you have found any of these tips useful, please share with your friends and followers. And if you have any additional suggestions, please share those as well.
Happy holidays and happy spirits filled with love,
About Dr. Erica Goodstone
Dr. Erica helps men and women heal their relationships through love. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Marriage Therapist, Board Certified Sex Therapist, BodyMind Healer, and Personal/Life and Health/Wellness Coach. She is the author of the popular Love Me, Touch Me, Heal Me book series and the romantic novel Love in the Blizzard of Life (available at Amazon.com) as well as hundreds of articles about love, romance, sexuality, healthy aging and wellness at EzineArticles.com, Examiner.com, YourTango.com, SelfGrowth.com, and WeMagazineForWomen.com. She hosts a Radio show and a Google+ Relationship Healing Mastermind Hangout online and she is available to speak at your next event. To learn more about Dr. Erica, visit http://www.DrEricaGoodstone.com