Blue Christmas: Why the Holidays Cause an Increase in Depression
The last few days have been rough. I do not know why exactly, all I know is that I am not myself. My pain has not been horrible it has maintained a 5/10 level for the last few days, thankfully. Nonetheless, my mood has been miserable.
Spending Christmas in Florida is probably what is causing most of my mood. I have spent most Christmases here for the last few years, but I’m never really happy. I miss my family. I miss the cold. I miss the hustle and bustle. I miss having Christmas parties to attend and things to do.
Florida is not home yet. With time, I have to believe this place will become home to us. My husband will start working and make friends through there. I will continue to deepen my friendships and start to possibly host my own Christmas party to satisfy my need for something to do. It takes time. Everything good takes time. How do you wait out the time, though?
This should be the happiest time of the year but all I can think about is missing my family. Then, I think about my clients who are stuck in jail and missing Christmas with their family, as well. How can I complain when I have my freedom?
The Christmas Blues are Real
Turns out, though, I am not alone.
Hospitals and first responders report the highest incidences of suicide and attempted suicides, due to an increase in depression rates at Christmas time. The unrealistic expectations, striving for perfection, and constant comparison to others is a recipe for the Christmas blues that causes many to get down in the dumps.
The never-ending loop of Christmas commercials is enough to make you want to pry your eyes out with a dull toothpick. The picture perfect Hallmark movies that have the families dressed perfectly, the homes decorated meticulously, the families always seem to love each other (and if they don’t everyone makes up in the end). Yes, we all know that these are movies, but we grow up watching these movies over and over again. It is impossible not to want a picture-perfect Christmas.
When you do not have a White Christmas experience, or there is an unexpected bump in your holiday season, it is difficult not to allow it to shatter your season. It should not shatter your season – there are some situations that are completely life altering – but most are speed bumps.
Luckily, there are some helpful tips from our Canadian Neighbors.
How to Survive the Holidays
- Focus on Others.
Volunteer, make cookies, shovel a driveway.
It releases endorphin and helps you feel productive.
- Start a new tradition.
Do your own thing and set your family apart from the status quo.
- Be honest.
Talk to someone about what you are going through, it can really help!
So, go out, be Merry, and put these tips to practice. Let me know if any of them help you or if you have some tips of your own SHARE in the comment section!
For now, I am going to get a hot shower, take my pain medication, and snuggle into a cold bed with my heating pad.
With love, pills (and heating pads)
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