The holidays are a time when it is expected that families, friends and loved ones plan for time together. Many of us anticipate having time off from work, kids look forward to vacations and relatives visit from other states or countries. Store displays shout joy, excess, festivities. Yet research shows that this time of the year can spur increased anxiety, depression and holiday blues. There are some who suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder which can peak in the winter months.
Mental health professionals agree that this can be a tenuous time for many, especially if you are in some kind of transition such as a divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of your home, the empty nest, loss of your mother country, unemployment or the even the memories of such losses. Here are some tips that you may consider to help yourself if you experience feelings of loss or disconnection.
Start by asking “How can I honor myself during this time of the year? What are some things that I am truly passionate about?” For example, do you like to cook, dance, are you artistic? Do you enjoy nature, reading books, going to art movies or movies in general, a museum, or historic homes, or do you feel compassionate towards the elderly or children, or are animals your passion, or are you spiritually inclined?
Next, consider which of these passions you or your family could explore more fully that would bring you a sense of connection, reward, contentment or inner joy. There are many local organizations that offer classes and groups that you can participate in at this time of year. A small investment in time can help you find reasonably priced or even free activities, at your local library, community center, gardening center, a local park and recreation center or local church.
Many on-line resources exist such as Meet-Up Groups (www.meetup.com) based in your area focused on specific activities, country of origin or stage of life. Other on-line resources if in Broward county, Volunteer Broward (www.handsonbroward.org) or nationwide All For Good (www.allforgood.org) recently launched by Google, or Volunteer Match (www.volunteermatch.org) which helps you match your passions, gifts and talents with needy organizations in your community.
Finally, if you find that you would like to honor the memory of loved one who has passed consider participating in an activity that they would have loved or wanted to learn. This may bring you comfort and cheer knowing that you are honoring their passions.
Think of this upcoming holiday as a time of great time for giving not just to others but to you. Follow this link for more resources and ideas available locally www.simpletherapynow.com
(This is reposted from the Bayview Therapeutic Services blog at bayviewtherapy.com)