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Sometimes it’s easy to forget…
I look around at a merry atmosphere – Christmas music playing, the blessings of a warm house and plenty of food, the horses safe in the barn, good health and good relationships with family and friends. In the cheerful bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to forget how many people struggle emotionally and psychologically during this time of year.
Why? The reasons are legion. People miss loved ones who are gone from their lives – the holidays remind them of family dysfunction and/or childhood abuse – addictive behaviors make frequent appearances during this stressful season – lack of positive/meaningful relationships create a feeling of withdrawal and loneliness – etc., etc., etc.
I have a Masters Degree in Counseling, along with being a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Colorado for a number of years. During my career as a therapist for troubled families, teens and abused children, I saw a lot of the “other side” of the holidays. It’s real and it’s difficult. For those struggling during this time, there are several ways to stave off the holiday blues, including:
- Begin a new tradition. Plan a family outing or vacation instead of spending the holidays at home.
- Don’t succumb to holiday pressures. Feel free to leave an event if you aren’t comfortable and be willing to tell others, “I’m not up for this right now.”
- Volunteer. Work at a soup kitchen, organize a gift drive, help a food pantry or simply help the neighbor dig the snow out of his driveway.
- Get back to nature. Going for a walk in the park or the woods helps many people who are feeling overwhelmed to feel better.
- Inject the Antidote. Nearly everyone has one or more “toxic” relationships in their lives – relatives or friends/acquaintances who are relentlessly negative and/or needy. Find and “inject” the “antidote” relationships during this season. Consciously spend time with those people who are positive and supportive.
It might be easy to forget how challenging this time of year can be for people, but it’s also easy to remember you can help by being a positive influence to everyone you meet. After all, Christmas is about giving and serving, not about getting.
Have a giving and positive Christmas season and don’t let your horse come home without ya!
You can find Lincoln’s online gallery of Fine Art Photography here
I find the holidays very difficult myself – about the only thing that makes it bearable is the thought that my grandchildren (some of them) will be here the day after Christmas. Otherwise, the giving tree at church or the Angel Action drives are the only bright spots. I struggle to stay positive and resent all the “decorating” and shopping that the older I get is less meaningful and mostly exhausting – lol. So I value your advice here Lincoln and try not to be that negative person people don’t want to have around this time of year!!
You’re not alone in those feelings, Lianne, and shopping and decorating isn’t really Christmas anyway. It’s truly amazing how helping others can make things more positive for ourselves.
Be blessed with wonderful times with grandchildren and good health, Lianne.
Great advice and ever so true for so many people. When I was 10 years old my Dad committed suicide just 6 days before Christmas…for me the Holiday lost all meaning and became a horror to get through each year….until…..I had my own child. My daughter is the most exuberant and festive person I have ever known. Everything must be decorated! She isn’t a materialistic person so simple little inexpensive gifts give her plenty of joy! Stocking stuffers are a favorite. She loves to bake and clean the house for guests. She makes cards and sings all the classics starting December 1st. Really there is NO way to avoid feeling HAPPY about the Season with her in my world!! She changed my life…and now Christmas is again Merry for me. 🙂
Awesome to hear how things have changed, Sharon! Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
What you say is so true Lincoln…we all need to remember to take care of ourselves emotionally and to take gentle care with others – in daily life & especially around the Holidays. I’ve shared your post with hopes it reaches those who will find comfort from your professional advice.
Congratulations on a well written blog!
Thanks, Jo Ann. I appreciate your thoughtful reply.