On Your Mind: How to deal with the holiday blues

onyourmindIs it weird that I don’t feel like it’s “the most wonderful time of the year”? During this time of year, it’s a real struggle for me to feel happy and festive. I usually just feel stressed or a little “down.” I get angry at myself for not being able to snap out of it and enjoy all the holiday parties and activities. I find myself “faking it” for the kids and my husband. Is this common? What could be behind this holiday gloom and doom?

Dear “Down around Christmas time,”

There are many reasons that someone might feel down during the holidays. It could be that the holidays are associated with a painful childhood experience or family issues, a lost loved one whom you typically see around the holidays, spending holidays away from people you love, or a variety of other factors that could contribute. If you feel your “doom and gloom” is persistent and feels excessive, please seek professional help to explore what could be triggering these feelings.

It’s also possible that, during the holidays, your expectations might clash with reality. You want the perfect party, perfect gifts, and the perfect family to get along all the time — happy and celebrating. However, things often don’t go as planned. A good place to start is to look at your expectations and determine if they’re unrealistic or adding to your stress.

Remember that there might be disappointments during the holidays, but there can still be some enjoyment even if all of those expectations aren’t met. Besides, the holidays will be over before you know it. Attempt to create realistic expectations for the holidays such as knowing that the entire family may not be able to get together at one time, or you might not be able to find that perfect gift you’re looking for. Focus on the times and activities you DO enjoy.

Below are strategies to help you deal with the Christmas blues:

  • Try to get away over the holidays or change your routine.
  • Spend time with friends and family that care about you.
  • Create new traditions.
  • Volunteer to help others.
  • Develop short term, realistic goals you would like to accomplish during this time.
  • Engage in relaxing activities – yoga, massages, etc.

I hope some of these strategies help you feel better this holiday season. And if you decide that professional guidance would be helpful right now, don’t hesitate to contact one of the counselors on staff here at Ozark Guidance. We’d love to help.

Stanfill, Abby1214Abby Stanfill is a licensed professional counselor with Ozark Guidance, a local non-profit mental health center. Since 1970, Ozark Guidance has helped tens of thousands of children, adults, and families in Washington, Benton, Madison, and Carroll Counties live better lives by providing high quality, affordable mental healthcare services.

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.