Christmas ads start so early that they are enough to cause anyone a holiday depression. Just turning off the television and radio really doesn’t make them disappear. They are on your internet sites, and on billboards screaming for your attention. They are in your children’s notes from school about the Christmas film they are going to watch. They are in the store windows listed as the worst Christmas gifts to give. There is no escape from the reminders bombarding you that the Christmas blues are on the way with the ads.
One thing to keep reminding yourself when you want to jingle jangle someone’s cheery “Merry Christmas” greeting is that it could be worse. Yes, it could be worse. Then think a bit on that. Top your wretched mood, and visualize the something worse. More often than not you will find yourself laughing hysterically at what you have imagined, and the best part is that no one on earth knows why you are laughing. They see you, and just think you are this very merry little being who is so excited for the big Christmas to happen.
Another thing you can do is nothing. How can you do nothing? Simple, stop engaging in all the commercial crap that you are inundated with. Think of something that you are always pressured (by yourself or others) to do or purchase at this insane time of the year. Is it sending Christmas cards? Getting just the right photo for the cards? Decorating your home with all sorts of doodads that you have to make room for first, and that means cleaning? Purchasing mistletoe? Purchasing all those “under $10.00” gifts for this or that exchange and truly knowing what the worst Christmas gifts are? Whatever it is that stresses you, STOP. You can graciously back out of the gift exchanges. You can enjoy getting cards, and not sending them. Maybe send them after the big Christmas, or way before, like in July. Then you have plenty of time for the right photo to add. You can easily simplify the decorations to a few classics that you enjoy looking at, or better yet, give the decorations to a nursing home or hospital or mental institution or a family that would like them. What a nice gesture that would be.
That is just the commercial part of the big Christmas. What about the sad Christmas memory? How to deal with the depression? Many people experience melancholy from grief, remains of loss from death of a loved one, be it human or animal. I know I felt rather vacant inside the first Christmas after my brother died (he died at Christmas). Just the whole atmosphere of merry and brightness can be like a cloud that doesn’t allow for sunlight. The pseudo charm of all the commercial Christmas paraphernalia drenching our whereabouts can increase the loneliness and depressed state of surviving a death at Christmas. There are some things I have found helpful.
- Get outside whether it is snowing or sunny. Walk and take some deep breaths. Visualize your tension melting. Smile at the universe. Use those smile muscles. Caw back at the crow that is calling to you. Stretch your arms and fingers overhead and wriggle them at the sky.
- Remember a happy time shared with your loved one. Sense his/her presence around you, and be grateful you had the experience of loving him. What a great gift to cherish. Now is the time to bring it out and shine some light on it - the loving memories that no one can take from you.
- Allow yourself time to sigh deeply in awe of the loved one’s absence. . .has he/she really been gone that long, oh how I miss him. The universe catches the sighs and the spirits lift your heart out of it’s ache. It feels better to allow the grief time, the melancholy sadness. It gets shorter each time you allow the feelings and emotions to release.
- If you put up a tree to decorate, include something for your loved one. A memento that makes you feel better, and closer to him. I was very moved in a positive sense when I put up a Christmas decoration that actually was given to me at my brother’s memorial service. Every year I set it somewhere that is upbeat (in a sleigh, next to a gorgeous red poinsettia, etc.), and I know that he is right there with me, in my fondest memories.
If possible it helps to be with others who you can share your memories with. Often you will find that you are not alone in your holiday depression. It is a great way to find out how others deal with the “Christmas sucks” blues. Sometimes misery does love company. There is no need to grit your teeth and steel yourself for another awkward, depressed Christmas. Instead, try some of these suggestions, and lighten your load. Remember, it could be worse!
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