It’s rather a “not so merry” thing to say that Christmas could be a really sad time for some people . . .
Christmas holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, all the fun, colourful lights and family gatherings … well, not for everyone. There are always two sides to every coin. There are times when I look back and think of these unfortunate times for some people. Most of us look toward the holidays with anticipation and expectation, but for some, holidays are anything but joyful or peaceful. In fact, holidays can be a time of increased sadness, pressure, and stress. Though you may feel like you are supposed to be merry, don’t force it. You just can’t be where you’re not.
While images of love and joy fill storefronts and windows displays , television screens and magazine pages, for many people, the reality of the holidays isn’t so cheerful. Between stressful end of year deadlines, family dysfunction and loss, love ones overseas, in the military, poor eating and drinking habits, and increasingly cold and dark winter days, it’s easy for the holiday season to feel not so merry and bright.
Also for those of us that have our love ones in the military, every service member knows they can be deployed at any time, even during the holidays. While many of us are fortunate to be able to stay home, we need to remember those who aren’t able to spend time with their friends and family. During this busy holiday season, keep in mind the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, spouses and others who are part of a military organization attempting to bring peace to the world. Having a loved one in the military during the holidays encourages us to focus our priorities on more important issues and not get caught up in the holiday hype. This year, like all others I will continue the tradition of lighting candles and prayers for the safe return for the thousands of military members who serve the cause of freedom.
Constant reminders of others’ happy seasons can additionally serve as a painful reminder of the happiness and love that’s lacking in our own lives. For this reason, the month of December can be a particularly difficult time of year for those dealing with family conflict, loss, break-ups, divorce, loneliness, overseas and mental health issues.
Getting Through the Season …
- Get plenty of rest. When you take care of your body, you will feel better.
- Try to keep your expectations of the holiday modest. That may help prevent feelings of disappointment or of being let down.
- Know that it is OK to feel sad or lonely. You don’t have to try to fake it to live up to the expectations of others.
- Spend time with friends and other people you enjoy. Do things you want to do, not just the things you have to do.
- It’s fine to say no sometimes. Wearing yourself out with too many activities will only make you feel worse.
- Ask your depressed loved one to do things with you, such as go for a walk or to a movie. If he or she says no, that’s OK. But do ask again in the future.
- Ask how you can help in the person’s day to day life. You might offer to do some housework, lawn care or errands.
- Get your loved one to talk about happy memories. This may help him or her feel more a part of the celebration.
- Listen when the person wants to talk. Don’t try to talk him or her out of sad feelings, but acknowledge them.
- When supporting a friend though a difficult period, help keep the pressure low. Don’t push the “holiday spirit” upon your loved one. Give space and permission for them to cancel a day of shopping, or to initiate a deep conversation on a day you had planned for celebration.
- And last but not least … love yourself too, take a little time each day for yourself and do something you truly enjoy.
Bonjour Tuesday! Wishing everyone a fantastique week ahead! 🙂