More Than The Holiday Blues

Published 12/10/2018

Are you ready to rush headfirst into the holidays with a 'shop-till-you-drop exuberance,' or not so much?

If you are dreading get togethers with family, or don’t have family to get together with, read on for some tips to get you through.

Many people with unresolved grief, traumatic experiences, and resentments towards family and loved ones often feel depressed or anxious this time of year.  The sense of obligation, responsibility, and the expectations associated with the holidays can bring on feelings of shame, guilt, anger, sadness or more.

Relief from these symptoms is possible. You can start by asking yourself some important questions, then by taking action. Doing the following can help you reduce, or even overcome, the heavily weighted symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Getting Started:

  • First, make an honest assessment of how the unresolved issues have affected your mental state, your health, and your relationships.

  • Next, make a list of your typical thoughts and behaviors in response to the situation. Are you engaging in self-harming, reckless, or self-defeating behaviors that are causing the symptoms to worsen?
  • Answer the following questions:
    • How are my negative my thinking and behaviors affecting my healing process?
    • Are my behaviors helping me to reduce my negative responses to the original situation?
    • Am I ready to let it go and heal?

Letting go does not mean forgetting, admitting defeat, or surrendering to the power of another.  Instead, forgiveness begins with a decision to let go, to move forward with your personal growth and acceptance.  

In fact, forgiveness is an act of empathy and generosity to yourself and others.

What Am I Letting Go of? Fear, self-doubt, avoidance, anger, resentment, and self-defeating behaviors. 

You decide to live a life where you sleep better, decide to trust, take chances, have genuine connections with people, and be grateful for all you have instead of what you may have lost. You decide to trust and invest in yourself.

So, you ask, “How do I do that?” 

Start by doing the following:

  • Create a small network of people you trust to support you in this healing work.
  • Find a therapist that you can do this work with, either individually or in a group.
  • Create a mindfulness practice, exercise routine, and relaxation techniques that boost your sense of wellbeing and help you avoid slipping into negative thinking or behavior patterns.
  • Develop regular eating and sleeping patterns to boost mental and physical health.
  • Avoid ruminations and negative thoughts by shifting them onto your new goals.
  • Remind yourself that the event is in the past and you have already survived it. You are now safe and know how to take care of yourself.

You have the capacity to rise above your adversity and live, not in spite of the cracks, but with the lessons that come from experiencing them. 

Let us help you:

If you’re in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area call FHR  at 919-573-6520
5509 Creedmoor Rd., Raleigh, NC 

Or click here to learn more about our programs by state.

Contributed by Lori Zeh, LCSW
FHR Director of Outpatient Services