Dear Mrs. R – An Advice Series for Women of All Ages- This Week’s Topic Coping With The Holiday Blues
I am so excited to bring you another installment of Dear Mrs. R. This week I address a Reader’s question about coping with the holiday blues.
In an effort to protect my readers privacy, I will refer to only a First Name and Last Initial when posting to Dear Mrs. R. So, please do not worry about your confidentiality as it will be protected. That’s my promise to you! Also, I will not publish any question without the express permission of my readers.
This week I chose a question from Sloan D., Sloan asks:
Dear Mrs. R., I wanted to email you and ask a question about coping with the holiday blues. The holidays haven’t been very easy for me for quite a few years. For some reason, when Thanksgiving comes around I start feeling down and bluesy. It hits me all of a sudden and sticks with me like a grey cloud hanging over my head. I’m not really a depressed person and I have so much to be thankful for. But, this cloud just keeps following me.
I always feel so guilty about being down because my family loves it when the holidays roll around. I have 3 kids all adults but not married and neither of them have kids of their own yet. My youngest comes home from college and my oldest comes from out of state. My middle kid lives down the road from me.
We are all together for 2 weeks before Christmas and everyone with the exception of my oldest comes for Thanksgiving weekend. They love helping me prepare Thanksgiving dinner and going through our holiday traditions. I should be happy, seeing the little twinkle in their eyes and the excitement they share getting together as siblings again. I look at their faces and see pure joy but inside I feel down and blue. I have absolutely no reason to feel this way.
I try so hard to stuff it all down because I don’t want them to see me like this. I don’t want to ruin their happiness.
Can you please suggest some things that I can try to get myself out of this funk I feel. I do not want to ruin my kids’ holidays and I don’t want them to know how I feel either.
Thank you so much for taking your time to read this. I am hopeful that you will respond.
Awww ya … the ole holiday blues. I know them well, my friend. I, too, have had difficulties coping with the holiday blues. When I feel it coming on I start to write my feelings down in hopes of pin pointing the one thing that is disturbing me the most. Some years it’s finances, another year it might be the hectic schedule I keep during this time of year. Once I start to write my feelings down I get a glimmer of what the true root of the problem maybe.
If I know we are going to be financially tight one year … I make it a point to set my holiday budget early. By doing this, I can come up with some creative ways to have gifts for everyone on my list alleviating that feeling of not being able to do something for someone or scaling down on my list. In July, when we hear all the Christmas in July commercials and big box ads I start making my homemade gifts such as my homemade vanilla extract in a decorative bottle. I also can salsas, chow chow and make jams while the season is plentiful and at it’s peak. By doing just these few things, I can pair my homemade gifts with, say, a box of gourmet crackers, some homemade fudge or cookies and wrap it all up in a pretty basket. You can pick up pretty baskets on sale and at the dollar store all year long. So leaving someone off the list doesn’t even become an issue. Or, better yet, what about that surprise guest who just showed up unexpectedly? No problem, I got it covered. I really, really don’t like be cash strapped and unable to provide a gift for someone. It just kills me and makes me worry all season long.
This year I’m making packs for the homeless and keeping them in my car. We have a terrible homeless situation here and I really hate to see these people without a home or family to be with during the holidays. It breaks my heart and I want to invite them all to my house for dinner. Mr. R wouldn’t be too happy with me about that though. So, to satisfy my urge to help another, I hand them a pack that I stuff with toiletries, new socks, candies and anything else I think they may like or need. Puzzle books and paperbacks are also a big winner. I have also been shopping at the thrift stores for coats, mittens and hats so if I see someone in need I just pop my trunk, see what I have that may fit and gift it to them. I love to see their faces light up when I can provide a coat or a pack of new socks that they so desperately need. I do this without passing judgment … you know ‘Goodwill toward all men’. This alone brightens my day and puts a bounce in my step making me feel a little lighter knowing I extended a kind hand to a stranger.
I make sure I block out time to take care of me … I schedule a massage, do my yoga everyday whatever it takes to make me feel pampered and happy. I also make sure I get outside in the sun on a sunny day. If our weather is particularly gloomy, I make sure I take a Vitamin D supplement to help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Sloan, it really all boils down to one thing … you have the power to change it … however you decide to plunge forward you are the commander of your vessel. You know it’s going to happen so why not take the appropriate steps to catch it before it catches you. Instead of looking at the foreboding big picture, live in the moment, live for what’s happening ‘right now’. You will never get these family memories back … don’t let them slip through your hands by worrying about EVERY.SINGLE.DETAIL being perfect. If you strive for perfection you will surely be disappointed.
I hope I have offered you some form of hope for the holiday season. Always remember, Commander, this is YOUR ship … take the helm and do great things! xo
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See you in the comments,