Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work the switch board at a hospital during the holiday season and witnessed the number of attempted suicides peak during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. This is the time of the year when many people find themselves feeling sad and depressed instead of being jolly and full of cheer. Some because they have lost close loved ones to death and the holidays are just not what they used to be, then there are those who are divorced and struggle with loneliness during this time of the year and others because the holiday season brings back memories of too many family gatherings that went wrong. Then add in the financial stress that many families are feeling right now and understandably so, the holidays can be a time of loneliness, stress and anxiety for many.
If you’re finding that you are beginning to feel sad, depressed or lonely I have a few suggestions to help you get through the holidays:
- First and foremost, spend within your means; the joy of Christmas should not be overshadowed by overspending then stressing about credit card debt,
- If you have children, start your own family traditions (i.e. pick out a tree together and decorate, prepare dinner/desserts together, volunteer as a family),
- If you are single (or a widower), get together with other singles (widows) and have a potluck,
- Volunteer at a local food bank or shelter,
- Get out of the house at night, and drive around town admiring the Christmas lights and decorations,
- Go on an exotic vacation or trip out of the country, especially if you don’t want to be a part of the commercialization of Christmas, or
- On Thanksgiving or Christmas Day go to a sporting event.
The holiday season should be a joyous occasion that should not be met with stress, anxiety, or loneliness; the focus should be about giving, not receiving. If you find that you are feeling sad, lonely or depressed take some time and focus on someone else. More importantly focus more on what you do have instead of what you do not have. Happy Holidays!