“At first I was afraid, I was petrified,
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong,
And I grew strong,
And I learned how to get along!” –Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive
While for some, December represents 31 days of benevolence, joy, and the spirit of giving, for others, this month could just as easily disappear from the calendar. Forced joy can be a source of extreme frustration and a dramatic case of December doom, for the following reasons:
- Family Issues/ Nostalgia of Past Celebrations: The holiday season symbolizes family and a celebration of love and happiness. However, when you can’t stand Uncle Joe or Aunt Gwendolyn always tries to kiss you with her fuscia lips, lunches and dinners can represent discomfort and stress. Depression sets in quickly when you realize that you have no one to truly make memories worth making with, or when those you had spent many a beautiful holiday with are no longer with you. In their absence, holiday rituals seem to lose their original significance.
- Did not Achieve Goals: The transition from one year to the next is inevitably a sort of judgement day, in which you take note of your experiences, achievements, successes, regrets, and flat out failures. Specifically, any desires or goals you achieved, who you shared them with, what you were unable to concretise, any missed opportunities, and what else you could have accomplished, but were unable to achieve. Based on these assessments, you will experience either positive or negative sensations. Unfortunately, people tend to draw negative conclusions when evaluating the past year, causing sadness and disappointment, and at the same time anxiety and worries for the year ahead.
- Interruptions in your daily routine: Holidays represent a break from everyday routines and provoke changes in habits and activities. This may be an opportunity to relax and recover, but when the daily frenzy is interrupted, problems and difficulties previously ignored, suddenly present themselves in a must resolve now, manner. A peaceful moment that could have been devoted to rest and pleasant activities transforms into an occasion for reflection. The interruption of normal work and family activities, leaves room for profound reflections of frustrations, sorrows, and suffering for those who are no longer with us for whatever the reason.
- A change in diet: The total transformation of normal dietary habits, due to an excess of celebratory lunches and subsequent fasts to make up for an abundance of calories consumed, may cause changes in your metabolism and lead to gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, and psychosomatic disorders, which adversely affect mood.
- Holiday shopping: The hustle and bustle, long lines, stressful decisions, economical impact, and anxiety of getting it all done in time, may lead to a complete and total breakdown.
There, now that we have totally depressed you, have no fear, because we have prepared a list of coping strategies to pull you out of the December doldrums, to get that seasonal sparkle back once more!
5 Coping Strategies to Survive December
- Abandon the idea that you must exude joy and happiness at parties. Keep your expectations low and realize that “…the most wonderful time of the year” is purely subjective. Concentrate on giving and not receiving, as those closest to us always seems to forget our dream gift. Zero expectations, zero disappointment.
- Share your discomfort with other people: if you talk about how you feel, sharing your stress will allow you to overcome that feeling of solitude that further nourishes the sadness and strangely, you may find that you are not the only one suffering the holiday blues. Other people often add a new perspective to the equation that will enable you to view your seemingly unresolvable problems in a totally new light.
- Stick to your daily routine: Make sure you eat, drink and sleep as usual. When you exaggerate your food intake and decrease your physical activity, you end up feeling weaker, heavier and more lethargic. Maintain your rhythm, take time out for yourself, and take breaks from the madness to read a book, or meditate.
- Plan and organize your Holiday shopping: Establish a list, and determine a budget. Just like over-eating, over-spending can be lethal for your mental wellness. Get creative with your giving – it’s extremely rare that anyone can truly spend what they would like on gifts.
- Focus on the positive: Rationally assess your situation and expectations. Evaluate the positive events and aspects of the year, and when considering your resolutions and goals for 2018, bring your goals closer to what you really can achieve. In this way, you will feel a new boost of energy to start achieving the achievable. Also, invest in a gift for yourself: choose a journal that reflects your being, place it beside your bed, and every single evening write 3 things that you are grateful for in your life. Every single evening…
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