Beating the Holiday Blues
Holiday depression can be caused by a number of factors, including fears about the economy, fears about being good enough, or fears of loneliness caused by divorce, separation or death of a loved one. Other people have stress because of unrealistic expectations about how their holiday celebrations should look. Most of these problems are rooted in fear.
There are many solutions to these kinds of feelings but, in the end, happiness and fear are a matter of choice: You get to choose what you will focus on.
You can focus on the negative situations in your life, you can focus on what you’re afraid might happen — or you can focus on love.
In order to experience happiness this Christmas, you must escape fear and choose love instead. Love is the answer.
It may sound idealistic, but love is actually a practical solution because it is the opposite of fear. Fear is all about you, while love is about giving to other people. When you focus on love, fear disappears. You cannot experience love and fear at the same time.
Choose to focus on love for yourself, life, God and other people this Christmas. When you make this choice, your perspective on everything will change. It has to.
“Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world — stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death — and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem 1,900 years ago is the image and brightness of Love? Then you can keep Christmas,” wrote author and clergyman Henry van Dyke in his famous sermon "Keeping Christmas."
I believe the true message of Christmas — of Christ’s birth — was delivered to the shepherds watching their flocks by night, the moment baby Jesus was born. Angels appeared to them and said, “Fear not ... For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord.”
The angel told you to “fear not.” Remember, your value is not on the line. You are safe in this journey in life. God wants you back no matter what. You are good enough right now. You have nothing to fear. You are right on track in your process of learning.
Once you know you are safe, you can set aside the worries and focus on love.
Here are some ways you can choose love and create happiness this holiday season:
- Plan or participate in social gatherings. Once you’re there, focus on making other people feel valued and cared about. Ask lots of questions and listen to them. This is one of the most powerful ways to make people feel loved. When you make others feel loved, you feel fantastic.
- Engage in service projects and get the focus off you. Reaching out to others makes you feel wonderful about yourself because you are, in fact, being the highest, best you.
- Stay within your financial means this Christmas. Additional debt will hang over you and rob the fun from your season.
- Spend time with positive people. Don’t hang out with complainers. Misery loves company, but it doesn’t have to be yours.
- Focus on gratitude. Gratitude is the most powerful positive emotion there is. Start a gratitude journal and write in it daily. Appreciate the small things.
- Take care of yourself. Take time to do things that bring you joy or relaxation. You are not selfish when you choose to do things for yourself; you are being a well-balanced wise person.
- Plan something special to look forward to after the holidays. Having something to look forward to and work toward makes it easier to get through the rough days.
- Have realistic expectations. Your holiday isn’t going to look like a Rockwell painting and it doesn’t have to look perfect to be perfect. Lower your standards and focus more on loving people instead.
- You may want to ask Santa for some life coaching or counseling this year. It’s amazing what a little professional help can do for your self esteem.
- Last of all, smile. The best holiday decoration is to be wreathed in smiles.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com
and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and
popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.