Got the Holiday Blues? You’re Not Alone!

By Dr GaryCA Latest Activity December 20 at 2:14 pm Views 1,081 Replies 6 Likes 1

Dr Gary

During the holidays, we are symbols of joys of the season. Colored lights, the music of the season, get-togethers with co-workers, family, friends.

As a mental health professional, I can describe the overlying theme of the holidays with one word: expectations. Expectations around giving, receiving, participating, hosting. And the biggest expectation of all. The expectation of being happy.

When Things Aren’t Perfect

But the holiday season can be anything but happy. Family issues can pop up that cast a shadow over the festivities. Memories of holidays past, and people you shared them with who are no longer in your life, can be painful. All those events you are obligated to attend can be exhausting. On the other hand, not having any plans, or at least not having the plans you would hope for, can make the holidays a time to get through and get past.

Living with a chronic condition can also add some blueness to your holidays. Like when you don’t quite feel up to participating at the level of the people around you. Or have to limit what you eat. Or those times when you might find yourself comparing how you feel now to how you felt in the past.

So if you’re feeling the joy of the season, that’s great. And if you’re feeling the holiday blues, you’re sure not alone.

Not feeling the holidays? Here are some ideas for coping with the holiday blues:

Set limits. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by obligations, take a step back and consider where you want to place your energy and where you don’t. That might mean saying no to attending an event or get-together. Or buying food to bring instead of cooking. Maybe putting in an appearance and then retreating to the sanctuary of your home. Honor your own limits. No need to ice your holiday cake with guilt.

Do something that’s just for you. What’s special for you about the holiday season? Anything you especially enjoying doing this time of the year? While you’re being a good sport and participating in the activities that are important to family and friends, make some time to squeeze in something that has personal meaning. A favorite holiday movie, a walk or a drive to look at the decorations.

Spend time with the people who are important to you. If you’re being pulled in all kinds of directions over the holidays, you may find it difficult to arrange time to see everybody on your list. As a result, you may not quite get around to connecting with a high school classmate, a former co-worker, an elderly aunt who can’t come to family events. Don’t neglect to make time to experience the joy of being with people who have played an important role in your life.

Make your own wellness a priority. All that holiday eating, drinking, and sitting can have a negative impact on your emotional health. So back to setting limits. Before you attend an event, decide what you need to eat or drink, and what you need to avoid to feel at your best. And make sure you’re getting some active movement in every day. You’ll feel better physically and emotionally, and you’ll feel better about yourself.

Expectations. Sure, that’s a watchword for the holidays. Here’s another one: balance. Yes, this is a time to give. But keep your own needs and priorities at the front of your mind during the days ahead. Embrace what makes you joyful, and you’ll make everybody around you that much more joyful as well. Happiness is a boomerang.

Now, what about you? How are the holidays going for you?

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Replies (6 replies)

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  • redorangedog
    redorangedog December 25 at 2:00 pm   

    no one what's hear your problems. smile when you see their face. they say "how are you' you say never better or fine. happy to see you! i love your dress. you look so lovely! what a great party. so many people, i want to talk to. may you please excuse me? i see my aunt over there, i have not seen for many years. nice seeing and your husband. how are your children!

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 28 at 9:53 pm   

    Hey Red, I get it. I understand what you mean. We spend a lot of time conversing during the holidays but not really connecting. All too often, it's all about having fun and pretending life is much easier than it is.

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog December 22 at 7:08 pm   

    if you expect santa is coming to your house with a cure for every disease. you will be dissapointed.

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 24 at 8:45 pm   

    Yes, that's for sure.

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog December 22 at 7:03 pm   

    Quotes About Expectations

    Quotes tagged as "expectations" (showing 1-30 of 744)
    Sylvia Plath
    “If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.”
    ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
    tags: expectations 7446 likes Like
    Alexander Pope
    “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
    ― Alexander Pope
    tags: beatitudes, disappointment, expectations, hope 5081 likes Like
    Donald Miller
    “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
    ― Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
    tags: expectations, people, perfection, relationships 4298 likes Like
    Bruce Lee
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
    ― Bruce Lee
    tags: expectations, individuality, peer-pressure, wisdom 2250 likes Like
    Jodi Picoult
    “If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”
    ― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes
    tags: expectations, image, self-image 963 likes Like
    Fulton J. Sheen
    “It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.”
    ― Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary: Lessons from Cana and Calvary
    tags: catholicism, christianity, church, expectations, god, happiness, lovers, marriage, philosophy, relationship-with-god, relationships, religion, spirituality, unhappy-marriage 689 likes Like
    Alison McGhee
    “You are most powerful when you are most silent. People never expect silence. They expect words, motion, defense, offense, back and forth. They expect to leap into the fray. They are ready, fists up, words hanging leaping from their mouths. Silence? No.”
    ― Alison McGhee, All Rivers Flow To The Sea
    tags: expectations, powerful, silence 628 likes Like
    Bill Watterson
    “I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.”
    ― Bill Watterson
    tags: expectations, humor 624 likes Like
    Patricia McCormick
    “Look. I have a strategy. Why expect anything? If you don’t expect anything, you don’t get disappointed.”
    ― Patricia McCormick, Cut
    tags: cutting, disappointment, expectations, hope, life, strategy 558 likes Like
    Stephen R. Covey
    “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and
    he will become as he can and should be.”
    ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    tags: encouragement, expectations, proactivity, self-development 524 likes Like
    Charlotte Brontë
    “If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
    ― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley
    tags: clichés, double-standards, empowerment, expectations, false-belief, feminism, gender, hypocrisy, illusions, misconceptions, misogyny, stereotypes, women 452 likes Like
    C.S. Lewis
    “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
    tags: expectations, experience, grief, mourning, others, personal-experience, reality, suffering 451 likes Like
    My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been
    “My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus."

    [The Science of Second-Guessing (New York Times Magazine Interview, December 12, 2004)]”
    ― Stephen Hawking
    tags: appreciation, carpe-diem, expectations, gratitude, life, misfortunes, spirit, strength, unbreakable-spirit 444 likes Like

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 24 at 8:45 pm   

    Hey red, thanks for sharing these with us. Yes, expectations can lead to all kinds of disappointment and heartache.

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