For many the holidays can bring depression, perhaps your struggling with major depression, which can be thoughts of suicide, hurting self, not being able to get out of bed (if you are struggling with any of these things I encourage you to speak with a doctor). If your have depression that lasts for 2 years or longer, it's called persistent depressive disorder, maybe your someone with bipolar disorder, which used to be called "manic depression," it has mood episodes that range from extremes of high energy with an "up" mood to low "depressive" periods, or perhaps your struggling seasonal affect disorder (SAD) a disorder that happens during the winter months, when the days grow shorter and the nights seem longer. or maybe your dealing with a loss of a loved one. What ever it maybe, struggling with depression is difficult but during the holidays can even seem harder. While every one seems so joyful you just can not seem to get into the spirit of the holidays.
How can we get through the holidays with a little peace and perhaps find our self smiling occasionally?
1. Accept the sadness- some people think they can not show sadness, they have to keep it hidden, but really this is unrealistic and unhealthy. It is o.k to feel sad, it is ok to cry if you need to. But in all of it you can still find things to appreciatethat are good around you. Such as a beautiful view of the sky, a friendship, or even just having a place to call home.
2. Remove Expectations - Sometimes our expectations can cause us to bring our self downor we may even find we are thinking about that Christmas two years ago and how wonderful it was but this is not the same, this may feel true and it o.k to reflect on the pass and the good times but remember you can make new memories, it may seem hard but it is possible.
3. Change your traditions- Each year you do the same thing, its been passed on from family to family. Traditions are beautiful but if you find that doing the same thing seems to make you feel worse or it prevents you from doing things. it is o.k to Change it up.
4. Go Out- Having depression can also included fear of leaving the house, but taken a tour around the neighborhood, looking at Christmas lights, visiting with a friend, go to the park or perhaps going to a cafe for hot chocolate can be helpful and may help to not feel so alone.
5. Don't Isolate- It is well and good to take personal time, but it is not good if you go days on end not going out, or having a friend visit you. Make sure you talk with a friend every other day even if it is to just say "hey I'm o.k but I just needed to talk with someone"
6. Say no if you need to- Creating new traditions is healing, but it can also be very hard. learning to balance is the key, goo n a vacation if you like, say no to some things remember balance you do not have to to go to every ones home, or go to every activity. Pick a few things, Go to a Christmas show, have dinner out, or attend one Christmas/New year party.
7. Remembering a loved one- Create ornaments with pictures of a loved one, light a candle, or even write in a journal sharing good memories of a loved one can be healing.
8. Play fun Christmas- Play music while backing cookies to hand out to neighbors or at your church.
9. Watch a Christmas comedy- This can bring out laughter and laughing is also healing, finding the little things that can bring joy. Laughing also helps the endorphin's in your brain which triggers a positive feeling in the body, For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. So laugh.
10. Forget about the perfect gift- Why overwhelm yourself with what to buy for that aunt, brother, etc.? Keep it simple every one loves gift cards or a little cash. Perhaps treat your self to gift like a massage, that cool item at sears, or maybe to a movie.
11. Remembering the true reason we celebrate Christmas- Read your bible, sing a worship song remembering Jesus loves you and how He was and is the ultimate gift.