Holidays can be a moment of peace, of rest, of family gathering; they are greatly expected, by children but also by adults, who can take a little breath from work. However, at this time of the year many people complain of negative thoughts, sadness, irritability, little desire to do things…
They can feel a lump in their throat at the sight of the first Christmas trees, lights, sweets at the supermarket; signs of the upcoming holidays, which seem to appear earlier and earlier with every passing year. Untreated psychological disorders get worse. Requests to care professionals who deal with physical and psychological health are increasing.
This phenomenon can have different origins, some “underground”, perhaps linked to past traumatic events; others that the person is more aware of:
- If someone dear has unfortunately left us, the holidays could make us miss this person even more; or we might feel guilty, because we can still enjoy these moments and this person can’t.
- Those who have unsatisfactory romantic relationships could have a black mood due to the divergence between the reality they live in and the image of joy and love, socially attributed to the holidays.
- If for the sake of quiet living, we are unable to cut off “toxic” family relationships, the increased moodiness of the period can be caused by anticipatory anxiety for the interminable lunches and dinners (in bad company) that await us.
Another possible reason for discomfort is that of those who know for all the holidays will have to take care of others and will not have the opportunity to allow themselves some well-deserved rest.
The examples could be endless.
Culturally, the message that it is a time to “be happy” makes things worse. Here are some general tips on how to cope with this state of mind:
- Be aware that holidays can act as a “sounding board” for a problem, but that most likely, that problem was there all along in the rest of the year.
- If you have suffered a bereavement, do not force yourself to do things you do not feel like doing, indulge your state of mind. However, focus on small affectionate gestures towards loved ones who are still there.
- Abandon some battles to engage in other more productive ones. If a person has disappointed you several times, if he creates a bad mood, if he never misses an opportunity to put people you care about in a bad light, let this person go. There is no love, blood bond, friendship that holds.
- Be attentive to the needs of others but also to your needs! Give yourself value, others will also give you more, otherwise you will come to fear that others appreciate you not for who you are, but for what you do for them.
- If you have no idea of the motivation behind this problem, at this specific time of the year and your malaise is very strong, so as to compromise your serenity and your social, emotional or working functioning, you will need to ask for help.
- Allow yourself to decide how to spend the holidays; make a choice between lunches, dinners and events of the period, to which you feel you “have to” participate. It is not compulsory to go to everyone, even some lies are allowed! Your health is more important.