December 11, 2018

As I look over our blog schedule for December I notice that our topics may seem like a downer, because we are focusing a lot on depression and self care.

Why? Because we know that the holidays come with a lot of triggers that can bring people down emotionally. Below are some ways that may help you cope with holiday depression. 


1. In graduate school we talked about the importance of traditions.

Traditions give us a rhythm to our year. When we lived in Orange City, Iowa there were so many traditions that enriched our lives. The third weekend in May every year we celebrated the Tulip Festival. The first Saturday in December was Sinteklass Day, when we celebrated the Dutch Santa Claus. When we celebrate things the same way at the same time each year it grounds us in time with people we love. When life changes and we no longer live in the same place or stage of life creates a shift in our activities, we can find ourselves feeling empty, sad, or down. If this is you this year I suggest you:

  • Make a plan. How CAN you connect with people you are missing? We have so much technology now. Plan on face timing when your family is getting together.
  • Make a new tradition. What is a new tradition you would to incorporate into the holiday season? Who would you like to include?


2. Did you lose someone this year? 

The first year without a loved one is often very difficult. Sometimes people don’t feel like decorating or celebrating at all. And you know what? That’s completely ok. You can take the year off from the holidays.  Maybe you want to go on a trip. Or just make plans to see a movie. It is super healthy to give yourself permission to be where you are right now. Choosing not to celebrate this year is not a commitment to never celebrate in the future.

Create a way to honor the person you lost. I know of a family that has a special candle that they light in honor of the person they have lost. The family all shares a favorite memory of their loved one around the candle holder. They can honor that person and give space to the loss they feel.


3. Blue Christmas Service and Yoga

I mentioned this in my last blog post but it bears repeating. Churches are now hosting Blue Christmas Services for people who are grieving over the holidays. It doesn’t have to be a loss from this year. It can be any grief. By allowing yourself to grieve with others corporately you can physically see that you are not alone and that in itself is a comfort. Also, many yoga studios offer free classes for people who are grieving. We know that grief is stored in our bodies. Practicing yoga can help us release some the grief.


    4. Divorce

    In the first few years after a divorce it is super common to experience depression. Having to split parenting over holiday time with an ex-spouse can be super disappointing. Memories of holidays together can be really hard. All of that emotion deserves attention. Find a support system! Do you have friend that is spending the holidays alone? Want to be together instead?


      To sum up how to handle holiday depression: 

      1. Know that you are normal
      2. Give yourself room to grieve
      3. Create a plan that will help you get through it
      4. Reach out for support


      I hope this helps.


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