The holidays are here and everyone is oh so jolly. Right? Wrong! Joyful and merry is the way we’re supposed to feel; all the songs, cards, commercials say so, don’t they? But for many of us, that’s far from the way it is. Rather than having a merry ole time, we’re depressed, wishing it would all be over and wondering what’s wrong with us.
How do we deal with holiday depression? First of all, eliminate ALL expectations, PICTURES of how it should be. Trying to live up to pictures is a formula for the blues. Take the happy family picture, for example. Happy family? Ha! How many of us think that Uncle Fred’s atrocious table manners, spoiled cousin Emily’s obnoxious whining, the loud yelling and screaming at the football game on TV, disapproving Aunt Tilly’s rude comments, Mom’s forcing food down our throats, Dad’s rampant negativism, is our idea of a great time? Get real. Family during the holidays is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s just awful, and expecting it to be different is just inviting depression. Take the three P’s (Perfect-Picture-Pressure) off of yourself and eliminate a lot of your bad feeling.
Of course, there are other reasons for holiday depression. Like missing someone no longer in your life, not having enough money to take that trip, feeling obligated to do something you don’t want to do. My suggestion is to own all of it. If you are sad, be sad. If you are angry, be angry. If you are fearful, be scared. Feel all of your feelings through to their completion and they pass right through. Stopping them because you think you’re not supposed to feel that way is what gets you in trouble. Feelings are transient and changeable when felt to their fullest. Not allowing them creates harmful blocks in your body. Said another way: LACK OF EXPRESSION = DEPRESSION.
As for me, I’m pretty much having a real holiday. Feeling good sometimes, sad sometimes, nostalgic sometimes, angry sometimes, doing my best to ignore the pictures and allow all of it. How about you? I would love to hear.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (Kindle).