How to Prepare for Dark Feelings During the Season of Light
Many people are surprised to learn that December can the most painful month of the year. Separation, divorce, illness, death, financial stress or an unwanted move can trigger feelings of loss that can make the holidays very challenging. Watching others absorbed in their merry-making drives home the reality of your loneliness and heartache.
Intellectually, you probably understand that appearances can be deceiving. Most likely, your friends and co-workers are not being completely honest about their own personal struggles. If you are facing difficult times, here are ten suggestions to help you navigate this holiday season.
1. PREPARE. Be prepared for the ambush of negative emotions that can overcome you at anytime. For instance, if Christmas music is stirs up painful feelings, turn it off.
2. ACCEPT. Rather than be angry, accept your loss and the difficulty of this passage through the holidays. Go easy on yourself, taking one day at a time.
3. SOCIALIZE. Force yourself to accept and extend invitations for short outings to events and places you've enjoyed in the past.
4. STAY SOBER. Don't try to numb your pain with alcohol or drugs. These chemicals are depressants, and they add to your misery rather than relieve it.
5. DECORATIONS. The push to put up holiday greenery and ornaments may be too overwhelming. Buy yourself a bright red poinetta, and save the rest of your decorating for next year.
6. HEALTH. Maintain regular healthy mealtime, exercise, and sleep routines. Sugary foods and beverages can be anxiety-producing, so steer clear of them.
7. SHOP ONLINE. Take advantage of internet discount prices and free delivery if a trip to the crowded malls seems too stressful.
8. SUNSHINE. Short walks outside in the sun is essential for mood elevation during the darkest months of the year. In northern locations like Boston or Seattle, Vitamin D supplementation is advisable.
9. BOUNDARIES. Be honest with friends and family about what you are capable of doing to celebrate Christmas this year.
10. SEEK HELP. If you find you're unable to cope, contact a close friend, women's counselor, or a pastor to help you "vent" your frustrations and heartache.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
Source: Compass Magazine
Photos: Heather's Photostream (Flickr)
Marriage Monday will be on hiatus until January. Please join us at Chrysalis for the topic of "Faith."