It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The lights all on the trees, the snow falling, cozy fires, and joy is in the air.
Out of all of the holidays, Christmas seems to be the one that evokes the biggest response in people. You either love it or hate it. A lot of people feel obligated and even trapped because they don’t feel as into the season of cheer as everyone else. This leads into holiday depression. People for whom this may be the first Christmas after the loss of a loved one, or divorce may find themselves lacking that expected joy.
Nearly 30,000 people commit suicide in the U.S. every year. That’s 2500 a month on average with offset being slightly higher in the winter months. Around the holidays the season of joy can be downright miserable for some.
But why is that?
The “holiday blues” are created from unmet expectations that just because everyone else is happy, you should be too. Just this morning over coffee, a friend of mine mentioned what he calls “The Expectation Gap”.
There are people are all around you laughing and smiling, and buying presents. The air is filled with music telling you that all is right with the world and you sit wondering why your life isn’t like theirs. It paints a picture of perfection in the lives of others and can make one think that they’re alone in their depression.
What most don’t realize is that you can’t let the holiday make you happy. In a culture of instant gratification, we tend to expect that. Those “Hallmark Moments” as I like to call them, don’t just happen, not in the real world. Instead of sitting around and waiting for happiness to happen to you, you have to intentionally do things that will bring it about.
That’s the thing about life. We are all going to be dealt a shitty hand at some point. What matters is that we don’t take the easy path. By getting swept up in being reactive to the circumstances in life we lose sight of whats possible. It’s much more difficult to create new circumstances, our own happiness.
There are those that seem to have everything they could possible want and still they find themselves falling into despair.
We’ve all done it before. We tend to sit and wait for our loved ones to bring happiness to us and get disappointed when they don’t.
Pour Your Own Cup Of Cheer
I realized a long time ago that my family’s mood is a reflection of my own. Moods are incredibly contagious which is why at Christmas time I make plans for us that can bring about good ones. They aren’t always elaborate, but they are intentionally done in order to foster the Christmas spirit.
We may go for a drive to see the lights and gather together with cocoa and “A Christmas Story” and as a result, I make sure that instead of hoping for memories, I actively work to create them.
Now maybe you’re alone and don’t have the ability to create moments like those with other people. That’s fine. You can still create them for yourself. The only thing stopping you, is you. Get up and go do something that you’ve been putting off. Take that mini vacation to the coast or mountains. You don’t have to spend money on buy presents right? Well, buy yourself a present and pay for that hotel room or that cabin.
Go LIVE and don’t think that you have to put life on hold just because everyone else is taking a holiday. Christmas is just as much yours as it is everyone else’s. An important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it the same way everyone else does.
You Hold The Power
You aren’t beholden to the world. The world is beholden to you. You do have the ability to create your own happiness and in doing so, you take control of your state of mind.
No matter the circumstances in your lives this holiday, make the intentional choice to make yourselves happy in some way. Don’t just rely on the season itself to do the work for you. Also, If you know someone else who may be having a rough go of it, call them and bring them into the fold. You never know how happy you can make someone else with just an invitation to join you.
No matter how you choose to do it or who you do it with, make the choice this year to have yourself a merry little Christmas. I for one and rooting for you.