Were you dreaming of a “White Christmas” this holiday, but now stress and loneliness have you singing “Blue Christmas” instead?
Many people experience depression, hurt feelings and fatigue during the holiday season. Consider these reminders in favorite seasonal songs to bring more “Joy to your World” before, during and after the holiday season.
Silent night. Holidays can be overwhelming with too many commitments and not enough contentment. Be sure to set boundaries and learn to say “no,” especially when saying “yes” leads to resentment and stress. Plan ahead by booking the people, places and parties you would like to enjoy. Saying “no” can be the best gift you give to yourself by setting healthy boundaries and enjoying the silence of your heart, mind and body.
Even Santa Claus gets the blues. Even if it seems everyone around you is feeling holiday cheer, keep your eyes open for those who are hurting. The holidays can be lonely for people who have suffered the loss of a job, a recently ended relationship or the death of a loved one. It’s easy to get caught up in our own world and forget to give something of ourselves. Volunteer. Donate. If you feel lonely, reach out to community groups, religious or other social events. Give yourself permission to acknowledge the hurts and sorrow of your past as well as to rewrite the joys for your tomorrow.
All I want for Christmas is you. This season is filled with gift exchanges, luncheons with girlfriends, holiday cards and so much wrapping paper. Stressing about that perfect gift overshadows what really matters — creating special moments to cherish throughout the year. The “stuff” in our lives can be emotionally and financially draining. Here’s an idea: Serve in your community, start a family gift exchange or give homemade gifts.
There’s no place like home for the holidays. Reconnecting with loved ones, children returning from school and visiting relatives are special parts of the holidays. Yet during the holidays, family dynamics can create extraordinary stress. Unreal expectations, power struggles and miscommunications all happen in the best of families. Plan for success by knowing what your limitations and triggers are to avoid old wounds and family conflicts. Be willing to find common ground to make new family traditions.
Over the river and through the woods. Don’t forget — help is available during the holidays, no matter where you are. Seek help for depression, sadness or anxiety that persists or that interferes with your daily activities. Family friction that becomes a feud may be resolved with counseling. If you or a loved one is experiencing overwhelming emotions, don’t wait until the new year to seek help. In the Metro East region, call Centerstone at (618) 462-2331 to ask if our behavioral health services may be appropriate for you.
By taking care of yourself and being aware how stress and expectations can impact your emotional health, you’ll be even more ready to “Deck the Halls” this holiday season!
Becky Hudzik is a therapist at Centerstone. Centerstone provides behavioral health care in Southern Illinois and the Metro East.