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Tis’ the season to be jolly … except no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get jolly when all you see is complete chaos.
No matter how hard you try to get out of this gloomy weather and avoid the negativity, life seems to keep handing you more and more painful times. And especially during the holidays, more and more pain surrounds you.
Holiday music often sends the message that holiday seasons are happy times.
As a therapist, I actually see a different side of the holidays that the music doesn’t share. Holiday music doesn’t share how horribly painful it is for many people. It may be from relationships on the rocks, lonely nights, deep sadness, no money, and fear of the unknown. Relationship funks can be a downer, especially during the holidays.
No matter the reason, people can get caught in deep funks.
Here are a few tips on how to get through the dark times:
Use Your Resources: From successful career to unemployment is a kick to the ego. You never had to worry about where you would get food next, but now things are changing. Now it is time to empower yourself and use the resources that you have. You may not have considered reaching out for food stamps or seeking help from friends, but this is time to do so. Find a way to survive right now to make it through. Seek family support, reach out to the center, free counseling services, etc. Resources are out there…you simply have to ask around and do your research.
Get Counseling: During rough times, hope can disappear. If you notice that you think more and more about suicide or giving up, it is time to seek professional help. No matter how hard you try, sometimes getting through by yourself may not work. Get counseling. There are many free or low cost counseling services in every city. Life-long depression or quitting on yourself through suicide is not an option!
Remember, It Isn’t Going to Be Like This Forever: We all face hard times and this hard time is for now. It will pass…so you need to survive NOW. Push through one day at a time.
Be Around Others: Reach out to others to help get support through the rough times. You don’t have to be alone during the painful times, but you also don’t need to talk about the gloomy days all the time. Take some time to hang out with others, watch movies, or go on a hike.
Remember What You DO have: You may not feel like you have much right now, but take a look around and see what you DO have. Notice the friends, the family, the clothes on your back. Appreciate. Soak it in.
No Boozing It Up: Drinking can be very tempting, especially right now. That numbing agent works great…but it is also a depressant. The more you drink to feel better, the worse it hurts you emotionally. Lay off the alcohol to prevent hurting yourself further. It won’t fix things; it will only temporarily numb it out. Avoid it if at all possible. (Yes, I am asking you to do something very very difficult.)
Release The Steam: You may at times want to pull your hair out and scream at the top of your lungs. Change your focus on decompressing and releasing your steam. You have control of what you feel. Be considerate of friends and family by not taking out your frustrations on them. Try journaling, taking a walking, or talking yourself through your thoughts to clear your head. Diffusion of small problems allows you to be more attentive and less reactive to your partner.
Jennine Estes is a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego with a private practice in Mission Valley. She has appeared as a Relationship Expert in Redbook Magazine, Martha Stewart Publications – Whole Living Magazine, Social Work Today Magazine, San Diego local news stations, and more. To learn more relationship advice from the author Jennine Estes MFC#47653, visit her relationship column Relationships in the Raw or her San Diego Couples Therapy website.