The holidays can be a joyous time for many, but certainly not all. We commonly associate this season with splendid sentiments of happiness and love, and perhaps we do so to a fault. Many suffer from unpleasant feelings such as fatigue, tension, frustration, loneliness, sadness, and anger. You are NOT alone.
The Holiday Blues, a temporary experience of anxiety or depression, can surface for a variety of reasons from unrealistic expectations and pressures to finances and commercialization. The first step in handling the Holiday Blues is to reflect on what may be causing your distress. Here are some common causes for the Holiday Blues and how you can maintain your mental health during this season:
“I feel pressured to spend”
Many claim that commercialization causes us to lose sight of the reason for the season. Although our own reasons to celebrate may vary, we cannot deny the pervasive pressure to spend in seemingly every store. If this causes you distress, consider grounding yourself by reminding yourself of your values. Use your reason to guide you this season. If you are purchasing gifts, plan ahead prioritize, and use a budget.
“I just don’t want the drama”
This may be a common sentiment throughout the year, however, with an increase of gatherings towards the end of the year, the pressure to see others we are uncomfortable with may intensify. The reasons for conflict are vast, but to avoid a tangent in conflict-resolution let’s focus on self-empowerment. Tune into your feelings and avoid ignoring them. Holiday parties are often filled with temptation for negative coping (e.g., overeating, binge drinking), knowing and noticing your triggers can help you from being impulsively reactive.
“I don’t want to be probed about my personal life. “
Holiday gatherings can be a great time to reconnect and catch up with family and friends. If you are worried about intrusive individuals, prepare yourself by proactively considering what you are uncomfortable speaking about. This can help you shift topics to what you are comfortable discussing and allow you to still be engaged. When in the conversation itself and someone taps your boundary, you may find a direct and respectful statement to be helpful.
“I feel helpless when I see my loved one.”
Although the Holiday Blues can be experienced by anyone 64% of people living with mental illness experience the Holiday Blues. Seeing a loved one struggle can be a difficult experience. You may be torn in this process: on one hand, you may want to help, yet on the other, you may want to be respectful of their autonomy. This is not an easy path to navigate.
“I miss my loved one.”
With the loss of a loved one what was once a joyful occasion may be a reminder of their absence. The holidays can also ignite unattended grief. If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, embrace your process. Ignoring your feelings does not equate to controlling them. Acknowledging your feelings allows you to honor your loved one. Avoiding your emotions may cause you to become isolated and miss the opportunity to seek support.
Reach out to a health care professional if you need help.
Season’s Greeting’s from us here at Westside Denture Centre.