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Christmas depression is real and it hurts. Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time on earth. But for many, its the saddest, loneliest time. That’s because most of us have this fantasy of what a perfect Christmas should look and feel like. But fantasy rarely is reality. And that feeds your anxiety and depression.
For many the primary cause of Christmas depression is loneliness.
If it seems like everyone you know is getting together for the holiday, and couples are buying tokens of love for each other, you might easily feel left out from the love and romance if you’re not attached to anyone. Not everyone is coupled. Some people don’t even have families. Think of your uncle who isn’t married, never had kids, sits alone in the nursing home. Or the single guy who hangs out at his friends so he doesn’t have to go home to an empty condo.
We all know you can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. If you feel like you have no connection to the people you’re with, you won’t want to be friendly or start a conversation. You’re probably going to wish you could go home, grab some drink and tuck into a blanket, and watch some Youtube.
We need to connect with each other.
Watch for friends and people who feel left out, or stand alone in the crowd. Make it a mission to go to that person and acknowledge his or her presence.
Don’t just say, “Nice to meet you.” Involve the person in some small chat. Anything to break the ice.
Don’t be fake. Make sure your conversation is real, and you’re expressing your real feelings and thoughts. If you feel like you really have nothing in common, don’t pretend you do.
The idea is to connect with the person who seems lonely. By acknowledging the person’s presence you’re saying, “I see you. You matter.”
Expect the Bad, Accept the Good.
Expect bad emotional days, ugly relatives, stressed out dinners and shopping. Realize these things are beyond your control. When the bad things happen, step back or out of the situation as much as you can. It’s not your responsibility to fix that age old argument between your in-laws, or get your husband to like that turkey sauce which your mother swears is her special secret recipe.
Accept any day or moment that’s good. If you usually cry every morning or don’t feel like getting up, accept that’s how you’ll be during the holidays. But don’t expect that’s how the rest of the day will go. Life can feel good so enjoy those moments and let yourself feel happy.
Avoid Family Drama.
People don’t change who they are overnight. Nor are they going to suddenly have a change of heart and love you, or want to be your friend. The idea of a Christmas miracle is nice, but it rarely happens.
Family drama is one constant of the universe when it comes to Christmas. Every family believes they are the best, most loving, closest group of people gathered together to celebrate Christmas. Unless, of course, if Uncle Barney drinks too much, or if Aunt Ellen tortures the family with stories of her unsuccessful marriages. Okay, these are big examples. Family irritants can be small things. Like the relative who keeps leaving the toilet cover up, wears that ugly sweater, is constantly texting, or smokes like a chimney outside your back door.
Family drama doesn’t need a reason to exist. Its simply about people having to co-exist for 24 hours.
You can’t feel good about Christmas if you don’t feel good about yourself.
Need alone time? Take it! Be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself first. Give yourself permission to feel miserable or to cry. Accept practical help when offered. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Let others lift some of the load off your shoulders. Whatever it takes to take some of the anxiety off your shoulders.