Christmas is meant to be the highlight of the year, but for some, it really isn’t. We are inundated with media images of love, joy, togetherness, that highlights what life “should” be about, but for most really isn’t. And in truth, the year-end brings on a huge amount of stress; deadlines, money issues, family issues, constant over-indulgence with both food and alcohol which leaves many feeling horrible.
We all have people in our circles who seem to have it all worked out. The one with the biggest tree, the best decorations, the largest Christmas party planned alongside the perfect friends and family. And often, this will conjure up painful reminders of what we might be missing in our own worlds. And in reality December is a time of year where many are dealing with painful break-ups, family conflicts, loneliness, mental health concerns and loss….
With loss comes depression, which is magnified during the festive season, so we have outlined five real holiday blues scenarios and ways to identify these and deal with them:
- Be mindful and grateful for everything you have, and do NOT focus on what you don’t have. Understand that there will always be someone who has more, but realising too that there are a lot who have less than yourself will make you sincerely take stock of what is really important. Gratitude is the best cure for depression.
- Don’t take too much on. Taking too much on at the end of the year when you are already fatigued and spent from a busy year is a sure-fire way to a breakdown. If you are already anxious, stressed and experience sleepless nights, this can really tip you over the edge. Learn to manage expectations, and delegate some of your “to-do” list to your family and friends.
- Take care of yourself. For most, December is the most stressful month, as workload increases because offices shut down, life and work pressures increase and diaries are full with social gatherings and our fitness regime goes out the window! To add fuel to the fire, we eat junk and drink excessively which in turn triggers stress, anxiety and depression. As hard as it is, make sure you set time aside every day to for “YOU” time.
- Comparing yourself to others is never healthy. This is something we all do at times, but you need to nip this in the bud. We are all different, we all have less or more than others, we all buy into each others hype on Social Media, and often the glam life we imagine everyone else is living, is far from the truth. Don’t sell yourself short, and be happy with who YOU are. Dr Seuss said it beautifully: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
- We do not choose our family. Accept that. And understand that sometimes they will not live up to your expectations. Minimise family strife by avoiding having “the talk” about issues while celebrating with family and friends. Bringing up dirty laundry at Christmas lunch really isn’t appropriate, so do your best to avoid conflict, and be mindful that too you are probably not the only one feeling blue, stressed or anxious.
Stress and depression can ruin your festive season and destroy your health. Take steps to prevent stress and depression by being honest about what triggers you, and figure out the steps to take in order to cope or avoid inner and outer conflict. With a little bit of self-care work, planning and positive vibes, you can learn to enjoy this time of year rather than dreading it.
“The holidays can throw you off your game — and that can shake you. When you have a routine, it’s easier to manage whatever mental struggles you may be faced with, but when that routine is broken, it can trigger things you may not be ready to face. I know it has for me. It was during the holidays when I hit a low moment and with the help of my mother decided to seek help for my eating disorder.” Kesha
Happy Holidays 😉
Love DESA x