Avoid Catching the Holiday Blues

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How to Avoid Catching the Holiday Blues

1. Simplify - While traditions are wonderful, some years it may be better to simplify. You don't have to cook an elaborate meal - you could instead order your turkey dinner pre-made or make something completely different that's easier (like subs or tacos). It can be fun to change things up occasionally and simplifying eliminates some of the stress. And before you think it will ruin the holiday, sometimes the years we did things out of the ordinary is when we created some of the best memories.
2. Create boundaries - is getting together with family/friends adding stress? Set boundaries ahead of time. If you need some extra rest, it's ok to ask guests to leave by a certain time or if you're at their house then it's ok to leave earlier than everyone else. With grumpy friends/family definitely limit the time spent with them and perhaps decide beforehand to avoid certain topics of conversation you know will cause stress. 
3. Create new traditions - If old traditions are causing stress or triggering negative memories, maybe it's time to start new traditions. Sometimes even small changes help our brain realize things are new and different and that holidays can be a happy time.

 

~The new tradition can be anything - we always had a tradition of having a Mexican meal on Christmas Eve with a styrofoam Christmas tree form covered in fruit and cheese. Though the tree was fun, after many years of doing it, we all got tired of the lengthy effort of making the fruit tree. So, we simplified with a new tradition. Now we just fill a Christmas tree shaped bowl with fruit with cheese on the side. Still fun, but much less energy required.
~ Last year we created a new Christmas Eve night tradition of exchanging white elephant gifts among the immediate family by playing the Christmas Gift Dice Game.. Christmas day we give gifts specific to individuals, but the Christmas Eve exchange is just any fun gift and you don't know who will end up with what depending on how the dice roll. It was loads of fun, so we're doing it again this year. Email us if you want instructions on how to play. :-)

 

4. Create new memories and make new friends - Is the holiday season painful for you because of past memories or because you have no one to spend it with? This can be hard to work through and it's ok to grieve, but it is still possible to make the holidays special for you. You could create new memories by making it a time of volunteering or creating gift boxes for needy kids, etc. Find a way to bless others that fills you with life as well. If you have no one to spend the holidays with then perhaps you could be like my friend who we will call Mary. Mary is divorced and her children live out of town. She makes her holidays special by inviting families and single people to her home who are blessed by the holiday fellowship. And she doesn't do it all on her own, she asks people to help by bringing food so it's not all on her shoulders. So, you don't have to do anything special; just provide a place where people are welcome. If you aren't comfortable hosting then you could meet at a restaurant or someone else may offer to host. The important thing to realize is that there are others out there who are alone and would love to spend time with you. I know for a fact that if there was a way to connect with kids newly out of the foster system that they would love to have a place to spend the holidays. :-)

Do you already have the holiday blues like I used to? Don't worry - there is a cure.

I am proof that there is a cure. I no longer dread the holidays. I look forward to them now! It can take time, it doesn't always heal overnight, but I want you to know there is hope. Sometimes we have to work toward the changes we want to see and it's ok to also ask for help. If you are still in a hard place and need encouragement or ideas to see the holidays through, please email us. We want to pray for you, encourage you, and let you know that you are not alone.

 


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