However, I know that for many people, sadness is a major ingredient in this holiday season. Some people don’t have family or friends to celebrate with, either because they’re too far away, they’re not emotionally close, or because they’ve lost significant people in their lives. Financial worries put a damper on others’ holiday cheer. Illness, stressful jobs, bad weather, and a host of other circumstances can lead to sentiments expressed by the title of the holiday song, “Blue Christmas.”
What should you do when you’re feeling blue?
1. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t feel guilty for the emotions you’re feeling. Don’t berate yourself for not getting enough done. Get extra rest. Don’t overspend, as you’ll eventually need to face the bills, which causes greater stress and sadness down the road. Keep it simple, and find ways to pamper yourself a little.
2. Step outside your comfort zone. Sequestering yourself can lead to increased feelings of isolation and sadness. Instead, pick a few traditions, outings, and gatherings that you think you can handle. Often, the best way to feel good during the holidays is to reach out to someone else who is feeling “blue.” Look for a widow or widower, single mom or dad, a lonely teen, a neighbor with no family in the area, an elderly person living in a nursing home…bring baked goods, shovel their walk, invite them for dinner or “coffee,” offer to babysit, or send them a handwritten note. Often, the relationships that are forged end up filling a need for everyone involved, and perhaps begin traditions that can be eagerly anticipated in future years.
3. Get professional help if needed. If everything seems too overwhelming; if you find it difficult to leave your home or to feel any joy, consider enlisting the help of trained professionals to get you back to full physical and emotional health.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…if you find yourself anticipating a blue one, I hope it helps to know you are not alone, and there are some steps you can take not only to endure—but hopefully to enjoy—the weeks ahead!