charge of your traditions and enjoy your holidays
Dr. Robert N. Karman, Licensed Psychologist, Yucca Valley
Here for Printable Copy
January 15, 2013, I wrote an article for the Hi Desert Star
entitled "Not again this year, SAD sufferers just need to see
the light". It describes a common biological disorder called
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in which we donít get intense
enough sunlight during winter to signal our brains that itís
that itís biological are depressed mood, daytime sleepiness,
difficulty sleeping at night, and carb craving every day for a
couple of months but not during the rest of the year. If you think
you are part of the five percent who have SAD, please see the
article for more details.
five percent of us feel down during the holidays for other
reasons. Curious, I googled the phrase: holiday blues. I was not
surprised to get nearly 73 million hits. What those Net articles
say matches what I have heard from people over the years.
for those who celebrate the holiday period as part of their
religious faith, their lives have disappointments that vividly
contrast with unrealistic expectations of a "Miracle on 34th
Street" or "Itís a Wonderful Life" holiday
experience with family and friends.
culture conditions us to expect things to be special at the
holidays. But when life deals us losses, disappointments, and
hurts, itís hard to have the level of joy we expect. The hurts
remind us life isnít perfect. So what can we do to shake these
need to acknowledge the truths of our lives without excessively
dwelling on the details of past and present hurts and
disappointments. Memories will recycle from past holidays and
unfulfilled expectations, but we need to set them aside and decide
to re-invent ourselves or at least how we spend our holiday time.
the holidays are here for us. We arenít here for the holidays.
Considering different traditions, experimenting with change can
help shake us out of our seasonal slump.
always have a tree and certain decorations, remember you donít
have to celebrate that way every year. Do something different. Or
at least be less frantic about getting it all done again this year
only to face exhaustion as the new year begins.
an idea. How are the holidays spent in the country from which you
or your ancestors immigrated to America? If that question
intrigues you, use the Internet to discover and then try some of
those ideas this season. Or even consider the traditions of some
country that has nothing to do with your family line.
strange, but why not? Try out another continent in 2013. You might
like it enough to continue it, or try something different each
year for awhile. Then as you proceed, combine several traditions
into your own eclectic holiday celebration as you discover what
you and your loved ones enjoy.
option is to shift your priorities this year. If you usually spend
your time exclusively with family, spend a little less and see
some old friends. Take a short trip to visit people you like but
seldom see. Even if travel is out for financial or other reasons,
how about an extended phone call to catch up as a mutual holiday
kids and/or grandkids live too far to visit often, why not set up
webcams at both homes and spend some video time with loved ones?
Itís not being there in person, but it can be a lot of fun.
After all, they are your holidays. Take charge and enjoy.