Tackling Depression and Stress During the Holidays
The end of year holiday season is a time of celebration and togetherness for many, and a period of high stress and sadness for others. It can be a devastating time for anyone who has lost a beloved family member, because the holidays can remind us of past holidays with that person or animal. How do we cope with the pain and sadness? Here are some thoughts to ponder when you just can’t get into the holiday spirit, for whatever reason.
Mourning a death during the holidays
There is no sugar-coating the loss of a loved one. Take the focus off of the holidays and put it on doing kind things for yourself, to help you to feel better. Death leaves those left behind feeling lost, emotional and emotionally spent. In the course of two weeks, both my cousin George and my 15-year old cat, Blackie died suddenly. Being far from family, I grieved for George’s loss alone, and was sad that there was no way to get home to Ohio to attend his funeral. Then, my old and ailing cat suddenly died a week and a half later. It was so overwhelming at first, my head was spinning, and my brain just couldn’t focus well. Add to this, I’d just quit a longtime job to take another, and had to go through orientation while in the height of the pain. To battle this devastation and keep my wits about me, I talked to a grief counselor on the phone, a trained specialist who could help me go through the pain. It truly does help to talk to someone, anyone. Getting the sadness and pain out makes everything more tolerable, and is better for your health. Don’t bottle up the pain. Talk with a friend or counselor, cry, reminisce, or do whatever helps you to lessen the pressure cooker of pain inside you. We all grieve differently, and only you know what is best for you. It is important that you don’t beat yourself up in any way, be gentle to yourself and avoid overly stressful events or situations while enduring the very natural pain that comes with loss.
If you find yourself broke or deep in debt during the holidays, you aren’t alone. Money is the source of many problems, especially during the holidays, when we’re expected to go out and spend even more, buying presents for friends and family. The kids want the latest sneakers or sporting equipment, and there’s no money left over after paying a whopping huge hospital bill or mortgage payment. What to do? First and foremost, try to solve the most pressing problems first. Gt a seasonal job at a department store for a little while, or sell your old stuff on Ebay to raise money. Be creative, and tackle the problem as if it’s a puzzle to be solved. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If one option doesn’t work, try another. Persistence is the key. Be realistic with what you can and cannot afford, to avoid bigger money problems later.
A nice way to make inexpensive gifts is to make homemade presents such as homemade bread or Christmas cookies. When things were really tight for me in college, I used to bake a few batches of cookie varieties, and then arrange an assortment of them on each decorative paper plate, covered with colored cellophane, topped with a bow. As for expensive presents, if they are truly out of your price range, tell your kids that you’ll get them for them after the holiday is over. Holiday sales usually cut retail prices to much lower prices right after New Year. If money is tight, have a second holiday out with your family, shopping the sales. This way you get quality things that you couldn’t previously afford before.
Family feuds can erupt during get-togethers over the holidays. Remember, that we only have one life, and that there are people everywhere who aren’t as fortunate to have a mother, father or siblings. Be grateful for what you have, even if the situation is far from being perfect or warm and fuzzy. Put personal differences aside, and try to be the bigger person about the situation, by not engaging in any fights, if prompted by the other person. Misery loves company, so just don’t buy into it and don’t waste precious energy being annoyed or angry about it. Let it all go. Fighting is draining so keep your personal power for more important things. Things like burned dinners, a toppled Christmas tree, or other minor things really don’t matter in the big scheme of things. The older we get, we become more and more aware of how precious life really is when we see loved ones become ill or die. We are in charge of our own lives, and as adults, it’s our job to be civil, no matter how insane the other guy gets. Just say no to fighting.
To have a wonderful holiday, train your mind to focus what really matters: family, friends, our pets, and being together. It sounds cliché but it isn’t. Decorate a tree or put up an Menorah. Whatever religion you are, enjoy the beauty of the season, and remember why celebrating is done in the first place. Show those you care for that you love them, by phone, letter or in person. Make the effort to show that you care. Give your dog or cat a present they’ll enjoy. Focus on being positive, and avoid the negative. Use this time for enjoying the office holiday party, or visiting with visiting family members who were able to make it home for a long-awaited reunion. Take charge of your holiday experience; be determined to make it a good one, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays are times to have fun. Find your fun, you can do it.
Tags: Holiday , Christmas , Xmas , Santa Claus
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.