Holiday Blues - Part I

It is upon us: the season of good cheer, warm fuzzies and togetherness.  Or so they say.  If we are to be decking the halls with lots of jollies, why is it that so many grumble and grunt, get sick, anxious and depressed or simply “bah humbug” it all?  And even if we do look forward to the holiday, what can we do to guarantee more joy, love and well being during this time?

Let’s take the first question.  There are many reasons this is such a challenging and stressful time.  Here are some.  One or all may apply to your situation. 

 Too much to do.  Many have full schedules already and now we get to attend parties, shop, send out greetings, shop, make travel plans, shop, decorate, shop, attend church and school functions, shop, prepare for company, shop, bake, etc., etc.  And, being the end of a fiscal year, our work piles up. 

Too much to eat and drink.  It may be a little more difficult to fit in the exercise and yoga, the calories add up, more alcohol and sugar get into our system.  This can be lethal as we know in the addiction field about the “use” to feel good followed by a physiological and psychological “crash”.  This leads to depression, anxiety as well as affecting our immune system and leaving us more vulnerable to illness.  Headaches, difficulty sleeping, colds and allergic reactions show up.

Too much money going out.  Consumerism takes over and our wallets get stretched.  The “I will worry about it later” lingers in the back of our minds as we look for the right gift, create the best party, buy the new outfit, or make our travel plans.  Giving to get acceptance  or out of guilt prompt us to over spend.

Too much togetherness.  If there is one season that brings out family of origin issues, it is this holiday season.  You are required to spend time with relatives you do not like, you are judged for your difference, you are conflicted by which relative to visit this year, you are haunted by past hurtful memories, you get triggered into dread, depression, anxiety, guilt as you think of the unspoken expectations put on you present or past.

Too much loneliness.  This is the first Christmas since the death of a loved one or you have ended a relationship and are alone.  Past memories haunt you.  Perhaps you are separated by distance and this year, the war, and miss loved ones.  Worse yet, you are in an unhappy relationship or marriage and the stressors of the time make this even more evident.  You are supposed to feel warm and loving and you do not.  You are irritable, angry and depressed and project it onto loved ones.   In worse case scenarios, hurtful words and actions occur.

In my next post, I will show some ways to remedy holiday stress and blues.