The holidays are characterized as a time of joy and warmth. For some people, they bring sadness and loneliness.
The memories of lost loved ones or relationships, past hurts or simply unexplained low spirits may be especially strong around the holidays. However, there are ways of coping with seasonal blues. According to the article, “Beating the Holiday Blues” by Maud Purcell on psychcentral.com, exercise is a simple but significant way of mitigating sad feelings. Though exercising will not change unhappy circumstances, it helps “fight any chemical causes for your holiday funk,” the article said.
Philanthropy also helps combat depressed moods. According to an oprah.com article, “10 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues” by Elizabeth Lesser, helping others “is the best antidote to self-pity and seasonal sadness.”
Purcell also echoes this idea. “Instead of feeling glum you’ll find yourself experiencing what the holidays are really about: giving to others,” Purcell said.
Holding on to bitterness can be another source of unhappiness. During the holidays, people come in contact with family members who may have hurt them, and sometimes the interaction is difficult.
In Mark Sichel’s article, “10 Tips to Beat the Holiday Blues,” he advises individuals to let go of grudges. “Do not feel it is helpful or intimate to tell your relative every resentment on your laundry list of grievances,” Sichel said.
Linda Mintle also offers the same advice in her article entitled “How to Beat the Holiday Blues” on cbn.com.
“Even though that person is difficult and maybe even mean at times, you be the person of Christ to that person,” Mintle said.
The arrival of Christmastime can be a reminder of normal family imperfections. Since Christmas is traditionally a family holiday, circumstances like divorces or death are particularly painful.
For those who do not have families to celebrate with or cannot spend the holidays with their families, Purcell suggests thinking outside the box.
“Contrary to popular opinion, there are no rules for how you spend your holidays,” Purcell said. “So if old traditions bring up unhappy memories, start new ones. If you don’t have family, share the holidays with good friends. Don’t wait for them to include you; make them welcome in your home instead.”
As with every painful experience, unburdening oneself in prayer helps in the healing process. Mintle offers her advice concerning managing holiday blues.
“Talk to God, slow yourself down, allow for quiet time; give your mind a chance to rest in the Lord and really focus on who God is and what He says about you,” Mintle said.
It is important to remember that God is a loving Father who deeply cares about his children and that his children are never truly alone. Moreover, another cause of holiday blues is losing sight of the heart of the season: Jesus Christ. Though past or present circumstances are not ideal, keep in mind the true meaning of Christmas: the miracle of Christ’s birth.