Healing The Holiday Blues & Seasonal Depression

There’s a lot to like about the holidays; parties, presents, the smell of pine trees, houses all decorated inside and out. Of course, Alexa and I love planning special festive outfits for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and the whole Fraser family looks forward to sitting down and sharing a big meal. Sometimes, the combination of those extra holiday chores along with the short days and cold nights can get a person down. If you’ve experienced too much pain or loss this year, you might wish you could skip the  festivities and fast forward to January 2nd. Or better yet – maybe you could hibernate ‘till spring!

I talk to dead people for a living, so naturally I know that all about that kind of grief. I can tell you that loss doesn’t have to be about someone dying. In the past year, you might have ended a relationship, lost your job, or had an accident or health scare. Any of those things can leave you feeling anything but festive!

If you’re sad, sick, or depressed right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me, no matter how tough a year it’s been, you CAN survive the holidays and make it to the New Year. Here are a couple of things to try:

Be Thankful.

It might sound corny – but counting your blessings is one sure way to lighten your spirits. It’s almost impossible to be sad and grateful at the same time, so keep a journal and write down the best things that happened each day no matter how small they might seem. And you don’t have to keep it to yourself. Let the people in your life know how much you appreciate them.

Just do it!

Be brave! Sometimes we get stuck in fear and negativity and forget we have the power to get ourselves out of it. For example, my Mother was afraid to travel after her cancer surgery. She’d never minded traveling before, but the whole cancer experience shook her up and made her fearful. So, what did she do? She decided to push through those feelings and book a trip. She had a few shaky moments in the cab to the airport but as soon as she stepped on the plane, her fear went away. She couldn’t even figure out why she’d been so nervous in the first place!

Give yourself a break!

Everyone else’s happiness doesn’t depend on you doing everything perfectly, so cut yourself some slack. If the gift you ordered doesn’t arrive in time or if you burn the rolls you were going to serve with Christmas dinner, don’t sweat it. What matters is that you are healthy, happy, and present for friends and family. And if you’re feeling tired or sad, take a break from your to-do list and practice some self care. Take a walk, read a book, buy yourself a cup of coffee.

Focus on other people.

Let me tell you a story. A friend of mine was at the grocery store the other day. She’s a single mom with three kids, so naturally she was in a hurry, throwing things in her cart and talking on her cell phone at the same time. Suddenly she realized an older gentleman was trying to get her attention. “Can I have a minute of you time?”

He was holding a dozen roses from the floral department in his hand, and she figured he wanted her to help him pick out flowers for his wife.

Instead he gave her the roses and said, “I want you to have these, Merry Christmas.” She was floored – but before she could give him a hug he hurried off. She watched him as he grabbed another bouquet and, with a big smile, handed it to another distracted shopper.

As she was checking out, she noticed that the woman in front of her and the woman behind her had roses in their carts too. It was the same in each checkout line. The man had bought every rose in the store and handed them out.

She told me later, “the whole energy of the place shifted. People were talking to each other and laughing. Suddenly everything felt different, just because we had all shared this beautiful experience, and we all promised each other we’d pay it forward”

Let’s keep in touch.

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