According to many studies, holidays increase feelings of loneliness and despair in people. Whether it is because they have lost loved ones, or because they have high expectations of renewed happiness during the holidays, which don’t materialize. Throw in SAD, and some of us may feel as if we should hibernate until springtime.
As I’ve mentioned before, my dad died in 1980. Just this past week, I spiraled into a funk while shopping, because I saw giant peppermint sticks for sale. Just like the ones Dad used to give me at Christmas.
There are several widows in my acquaintance who will spend their first Christmas this year, without their mates. My sister, California Girl, being one of them.
There are countless tales of broken dreams. Lost loved ones. Unfulfilled desires, and messed up plans. So, how do we manage to put one foot in front of the other during times when things just seem so wrong?
The following suggestions are by no means a “thus sayeth”. They are merely things I’ve observed.
For one thing, stay away from the Hallmark and Lifetime Channels. Even if the guy gets the girl by the end of the movie, and maybe, because the guy gets the girl, those movies, more times than not, are depressing. Turn them off.
Go through your DVDs. Check out movies from your library. Watch something funny. Something uplifting. Watch The Princess Bride for the umpteenth time. (Inconceivable!) Watch a musical, just not The King and I. The ending makes me cry every time.
Lose yourself in a mystery. How about Foyle’s War? If all else fails, what about viewing It’s a Wonderful Life, or The Christmas Story? (You’ll shoot your eye out!)
Go to free holiday events. Window shop. People-watch. Purchase something for yourself. Volunteer for a worthy cause. Get in touch with a friend you haven’t spoken to for awhile.
Listen to music you enjoy. One suggestion, if you’re really in a funk, listen to something snappy that sets your feet to tapping, that you can warble out loud to. Avoid those beautiful ballads like, My Heart Will Go On, and The Way We Were, unless you really need to cry it out. If that’s the case, set a limit to how long you’ll give yourself to feel the pain.
Make new traditions, if you need to.
Life is not static. It moves and flows with each breath we take. It is okay to change things up a bit. If it doesn’t work, try something different.
So, where is our hope amid the bleak mid-winter? Our hope is found in a baby who was born in a manger, so many years ago.
Watch the video of Mark Lowery’s beautiful song, Mary Did You Know? which I list among my favorites.
Then, six months after Zacharias’ vision, the angle Gabriel was sent from God to a Galilean town, Nazareth by name, to a young woman who was engaged to a man called Joseph. The girl’s name was Mary. The angel entered her room and said, “Greetings to you, Mary. O favoured one!-the Lord be with you!
Mary was deeply perturbed at these words and wondered what such a greeting could possibly mean. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; God loves you dearly. You are going to be the mother of a son, and you will call him Jesus. He will be great and will be known as the Son of the most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather, David, and he will be king over the people of Jacob for ever. His reign shall never end.” Luke 1:26-33 (PHILLIPS)
What’s the best way you know to get out of a funk? Especially during the holidays.
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I wish you well.
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