They say it’s the most ‘wonderful time of the year’, and while it is for most, the holiday season can be a pretty tough and a depressing time for many. Before you go and write someone off as a Scrooge because they’re not as joyful, festive and bubbly as you, you should know that there are many factors that contribute to low spirits. I know there was once a period in my life where I had a love/hate affair and wanted to skip the entire month of December and therefore I try to be as gentle with people as possible.
So, why would your best friend, cousin, brother, sis-in-law or your grumpy neighbour become a recluse during a time that is supposed to be about giving and showing love and kindness to others? You would be surprised if you simply took the time to ask instead of making assumptions. Too many times we assume instead of simply asking why. Speaking from experience, I began to despise Christmas because it brought back too many happy moments that I would never be able to share with someone I loved again.
Just writing this makes me tear up because you never fully get over a loss, especially people who mean the world to you. I lost my aunt to cancer, she was my everything and Christmas was such a special time in our home. She taught me the true meaning of Christmas and she also taught us all how to truly overdo it with the holiday decor. Christmas was an entire production in our home, new coats of paint, the biggest Christmas tree in the store, an entire manger scene on our front lawn and Christmas lights that could light up a small village. When she died, Christmas wasn’t the same because it meant I couldn’t spend time with her and it was a void. The memories were too much and I began to resent the holiday.
For many people who have lost loved ones and still grieving, the holidays are tough and tugs at your heart but you can beat the blues. While it’s hard not to wallow, you have to stay close to people you love and care about you and try not to close yourself off, because that makes it even worse. The only way people know what and how you’re feeling is to talk to them, let them in. Allow people to help boost your spirits. It’s a lot easier for you when you share what’s going on with your life with others. If it’s really bad, get away from the familiarity of home, plan a trip to somewhere new, create new traditions with new people.
While death is a major reason why people suffer from holiday depression, it’s not the only. There are people suffering from financial struggles, health issues, marriage problems, loneliness, seasonal affective depression, stress and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s remember to be kinder and more gentle to people. Let’s not cast them aside as a Grinch and Scrooge but dig deeper and truly embrace them and lend a hand if we are able to. Surprise them with a gift, invite them to a family event, laugh with them, hug them, pray with them and for them. Trust me, it helps.
Lastly, if you’re a family member, try something different this year, how about you skip the sensitive questions. Why someone’s still single, getting a divorce, not with child, even though you are family, is still not your business.
Let this truly be a season of love, peace, and joy!