It’s the holiday season. We’ve passed Thanksgiving and now Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s is here. Somewhere in the midst of all that celebrating you suddenly feel as though the bottom dropped out. Shopping, caroling, entertaining, parties; whatever you’re doing and wherever you are, you just feel overwhelmed. Maybe you realize you’ve spent more than you should have. Perhaps you forgot to invite someone to your party or forgot a party you had said you’d attend. Your in-laws are coming and you need to get the house in order. A dozen things could trigger that sinking sensation. Anxiety and depression during the holidays is more common than you’d expect.
Drinking and eating too much can cause you to feel ill; insomnia, and headaches abound. For some people loneliness may be an issue. Perhaps you can’t be home with family and friends; maybe you’ve recently divorced or had a child leave home. Too much of anything can trigger that down in the dumps feeling. If a loved one has passed away that feeling of loss could be stronger.
Rather than give in to the doldrums find ways to overcome those feelings. If financial concerns are a big issue set realistic goals. Remember it’s not how much the gift costs or how big it is; it truly is the thought behind it. If you’re on a tight budget consider homemade gifts or services. Cookies, candies, or maybe the mixes to prepare goodies in a decorated jar, offer a night of babysitting, a card offering to do laundry, or house cleaning, or pet sitting for someone going on vacation can be a welcome gift. Perhaps you know someone who enjoys holiday decorations but can’t easily get around. Escorting them to various locations to see displays can brighten her day and your own as well.
The holidays are a good time to think about others. Visiting shut-ins can bring up the spirits of others. If you have a talent like playing a musical instrument or singing you might consider going to a nursing home, a daycare, or children’s hospital and singing carols. Making the holidays special for others can often cheer up those who suffer from holiday blues.
Of course some people suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is caused by decreased daylight hours and sunlight and colder temperatures. This disorder is usually recurring and each year is unpleasant for those who endure it. When treated with anti-depressants SAD can usually be managed.
The most important thing is to be realistic and appreciate what you have and what you can do. Pace yourself. Set time limits on shopping, visiting, decorating or any other activity you choose to enjoy. And that’s the key word. Enjoy the season. Share your time but remember to set aside some alone time.