Beating the holiday blues

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The holidays are a festive time of year that bring families and communities together, serve to mend old ties, and encourage people to give to others. For some individuals, on the other hand, it can have a contrary effect. They may be stressed or feel depressed because of a loss, divorce, financial problems, or changes in an old tradition.

To help you cope during this holiday season, consider these ideas:

Identify the source of your unhappiness: Don't blame the long lines at the store or the extra hours at work. Identify the true source of your sadness. Once you have done this you will be ready to find ways of managing it.

Take Charge: It is okay to acknowledge you are sad. It is normal. At the same time, try to find a way to take control of it. Don't let it control you. Make a list of the things you have power over and focus on them. Focusing on things you cannot control is like spinning wheels. You'll stay stuck and not move forward. If your old traditions are not working for you, establish new ones. Do not let your sadness prevent you from starting fresh, especially when children are involved. Take charge, you will feel better.

Be realistic about your expectations: We see images everywhere of what the holiday season and gatherings should look like. Sometimes we may even set our expectations up for one special night. When things do not turn out the way we envisioned them, we go back to feeling sad or feeling sorry for ourselves. Be realistic about things. If your family always fights during the holidays, don't expect things will be different. Make a decision of how you will manage it ahead of time.

Spend time with supportive people: Share your feelings with friends. It is normal not to want to burden family or friends, but it is important to find someone to talk to. Find someone who cares and genuinely wants the best for you.

Take time for yourself & others: Take time do something special for yourself, your family, or others less fortunate than you are. If financial problems are affecting you, it does not have to involve money. Spend a night watching old home movies or looking through photo albums of happier times. The point is to find time to focus on the blessings you do have.