You want to know how I know something is off with me? My Christmas decorations aren’t bringing me any joy. None. At all. I usually love decorating for Christmas. I usually love looking at my tree. I usually love looking at all of the decorations. But, not this year. I didn’t even enjoy putting everything out. It felt like such a hassle. I couldn’t even think of a reason to do it. I almost want to take it all down. It’s not even December. I have a whole month left.
I feel like this year has been the worst for my depression. I’m so angry all of the time. I am so hostile. I am so irritable. Every little thing gets on my nerves. Very little has been bringing me happiness. I don’t even know what I enjoy anymore.
As bad as this sounds, I’m kind of glad Covid is here. The thought of spending time with extended family for Christmas sends my anxiety through the roof. I mean, I always feel that way when I know that we are going to be spending time with people, but I’m honestly not sure that I could handle it this year. I just don’t have the energy to fake smiles right now.
We had a very small Thanksgiving this year, which was nice. It was us, my parents. my mom’s friend, and one of my cousins. It was just enough people that it didn’t send me into panic mode.
But why? Why am I feeling the way I am feeling about Christmas this year? I found an article on Christmas Blues that has some great content. There are so many things that can trigger depression this time of year: finances, stress, loneliness, grief, estrangement, divorce, pleasing, and SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Most of the time, women carry much of the burden when it comes to everything Christmas: planning, shopping, cooking, etc. Because of this, women are more prone to depression than men. Depression is the second most debilitating illness for women. It’s tenth for men.
There are a few things that you can do to try to curb your Christmas Blues.
If you’re anything like me, knowing who is going to be somewhere makes all of the difference. Making plans in advance can ease unwanted stress about how the holidays will be spent.
Shop early. I used to be one of the ones out at midnight on Christmas Eve, trying to get all of my shopping done last minute. Now, I online shop about a month in advance, and very rarely stress about presents.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your spouse and children are more than capable of helping out. Having the help of your loved ones can actually be more fun anyway.
This is a tough one, even for me. Don’t buy something you can’t afford. No one is worth going into debt over. Live within your means. You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed if you aren’t able to spend hundreds of dollars on gifts. Christmas isn’t about gifts.
How many perfectionists are here? I am one. I like to do everything a certain way, and if it’s not done that way, I redo it. Don’t allow perfectionism to wear you down. Not everything has to be perfect.
Make time for yourself. Rest and rejuvenate. Don’t try to cram 75 hours worth of things to do in 12 hours. They will get done. Take your time. Resting will actually give you more energy, to allow you to get more done.
Spend time alone. Reflect. Grieve (if necessary). Stop suppressing your feelings (easier said than done, I know). Suppressing feelings causes depression. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Realize why you’re feeling a certain way, and then go do something for yourself.
Spend time alone (above), but don’t isolate yourself. I struggle with this one. I rarely leave the house. Loneliness is a trigger for Christmas Blues. If you know one of your friends is lonely, reach out to them. You don’t have to do anything extravagant. You can just sit with each other. Being with someone in silence is better than being alone in silence. Volunteer your time to help someone. You will see that it is very rewarding.
Another way to help your Christmas Blues is to take a “Mindful Minute”. I can’t guarantee that all of your worries will disappear like the image says, but I can say that it will help you be more focused, and hopefully focused on the good around you.
Christmas is supposed to be filled with joy. In conjunction with the above, I plan to do a “25 Days of Christmas” on stream. hopefully that will help, as well.
How are you holding up this year?
What do you do for you?
**Remember, signs of depression are feelings of sadness, worthlessness or guilt, crying, loss of interest in usual activities, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, social withdrawal, and changes in sleep, weight, or appetite. If these symptoms are severe or continue for a few weeks, more than the holidays may be the cause. Seek professional help.**
Again, as usual, if you ever need anyone to talk to, I am here!! Feel free to send me a message!