05 Dec Blue Christmas | Dealing with Difficult Feelings
Christmas is the best time of the year…except when it’s not.
Christmas can quickly turn from a joyous time to a lonely time. A few years ago, I found myself in this place. I struggled with mild post pardum depression after my second son was born. I didn’t recognize it at first, because it didn’t happen right away. My depression started probably four months or so after he was born, Christmas was coming up and I didn’t feel like myself.
Why am I thinking about this now, 5 years later? Because earlier this year, I felt myself falling back into those feelings of loneliness and depression.
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No one is immune to feeling lonely or depressed. It has nothing to do with being a Christian or not. And while I’m not qualified to speak about severe depression, what I’m talking about are those nagging feelings that come up that you can’t seem to shake. And just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that those feelings will automatically lift.
So, in this post, I want to share some ways you prevent holiday stress and the depression that can come with it:
Acknowledge your feelings.
Let’s admit it, we know how to stuff our feelings inside. We know how to put on a happy face and say “I’m fine!”
But if you’re not fine. That’s okay. The first step toward overcoming difficult feelings is to address them.
Admit to God that you’re not okay. Go to HIM.
If you want to know the truth: He already knows anyway. He already sees your pain and He wants to meet you where you are. That doesn’t always mean that you’ll feel better right away, but it does mean that He’ll be with you through it.
If you are really struggling, search for audio versions of the Bible. Start in the gospels and listen to the Bible being read. Play it when you go to sleep, play it while you’re getting ready. Let God’s Word sink deep into your heart. Click HERE for a great free semi-dramatized version of Matthew on YouTube.
Not only is it okay to go to God, it’s okay to admit to a trusted friend or mentor that you aren’t fine.
When I struggled with post-pardum depression, as much as I didn’t want to, I decided to go to a woman I trusted from my church. I know it was God because she could completely empathize because she had been there.
Why do we have such a hard time admit weakness? Perfection doesn’t help anyone. Being vulnerable does. Being vulnerable brings healing and grace and understanding.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and receive those things just because you can’t let go of your pride.
Have realistic expectations.
One reason why Christmas is a breeding ground for depression is because we can get unrealistic expectations about how this holiday is supposed to go.
It’s okay if things aren’t perfect, if you say no to an event, or if not everyone gets a Christmas card.
Our expectations cause more problems than anything. I remember the first Christmas that my first son was born. We traveled to every event, every family member’s house. After that first Christmas, my husband and I decided to value quality over quantity. We said no to a lot of things. We had a simpler Christmas.
Don’t try to buy happiness.
I’m talking to ME with this tip. My love language is gifts. Just ask anyone. I love giving gifts, I love searching for the right gift. If someone is sad or upset, my first instinct is to go shopping.
I’ll admit that part of me went shopping because of the euphoric feeling I got when I purchased something and then again when the person opened it. But I had to change.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that people only want stuff from you. They want YOU. Your company, your friendship.
Learn to say no.
Saying yes when you should say no will lead to feelings of overwhelm and regret. If you’re struggling with difficult feelings, saying yes to everything isn’t the answer.
Think of it this way: every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else.
Choose to say no to the mediocre things so you can say yes to the best things.
Don’t abandon healthy habits.
- Don’t go overboard with food.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Drink lots of water.
- Make time for yourself.
- Go outside.
It’s doing the things you already know to do. Our spirit, mind, and body are connect way more than we think. So don’t neglect your body, take care of it.
Seek professional help if you need it.
I don’t know what your personal situation may be. If your “blue Christmas” is more than the normal stress or occasional bad day, seek professional help.
But if I may, can I give you a piece of advice? Make it a priority that the help you seek comes from a qualified CHRISTIAN. Someone who understands the power of God and the intricate way our minds work.
Be part of our community.
When difficult feelings come up, we are prone to isolate ourselves.
I get it.
All you want to do is sleep all day, throw the covers over your head and be alone. But we need each other. If you don’t feel like you have a community of Christian women, then join mine! I have a free Facebook Group called GIRL OF GRACE where women come together, encourage each other, pray for one another, and lift each other up every day.
I personally post there daily, but it’s not just me. There are women from all over the country who are ready to stand with you! Join free HERE!
** Disclaimer: I am not a clinical expert and I haven’t dealt with severe depression. This post isn’t meant to take the place of medication or counseling, I just wanted to share some tips today to counter loneliness and other difficult feelings at Christmas and also to help prevent them.**