The Holiday Season

For those who observe certain holidays, we’re heading into that season. The US Thanksgiving holiday is toward the end of this month, and Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa, among others, occur in December.

Some of us grew up celebrating one or more of these holidays, and for some, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. Family conflicts often become worse and/or more frequent around this time of year, partly because of the stress of large gatherings and large expenses, and, in the northern hemisphere, partly because daylight hours are shorter and the darkness can affect moods.

In some places, people are expected to be all about family and celebrations at this time of year, but for some of us, that isn’t always possible or beneficial. Personally, I deal each year with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depression caused by the lack of daylight, along with my usual mental health issues. In addition, when I was a child and teen, as well as during my first marriage, the holidays were a very stressful time of year in my home. It’s difficult for me to feel joyful about the holidays, though for the past several years my kids have helped by taking over the decorating and sharing their excitement.

If you have a tough time with holidays, be gentle with yourself. Try to minimize your responsibilities as far as shopping and hosting. Lean on friends and family, or if possible and necessary seek professional help. Everyone needs a boost sometimes, and this time of year can definitely require a boost.