For most of us at Smith Mountain Lake this is a marvelous time of year. Visiting family, picking out gifts, anticipating Christmas and New Year’s…..there is excitement in the air.
But for thousands of Americans, it is one of the most depressing and grievous days they will experience. For those who have lost a loved one Christmas is an intense reminder of their absence. For those who are alone or feeling unloved, all the family-oriented advertising brings further pain. For a variety of reasons, this season of joy can be the hardest to cope with for many.
This year be aware of the needs of others. Find someone who needs a family and invite them to be a part of yours. Take the time to visit someone who cannot get out and is feeling alone.
If you or someone you know struggles with depression, perhaps these 4 helpful hints will be of aid in making it through the holidays.
1. Remember that Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of the One who is with us every day of the year. It’s not about gifts and lights and parties, even though that is what you see all over television. To make it through the season don’t spend time where you will be forced to listen to the hype. Instead, visit a church if you don’t have one. And focus on the real meaning of Christmas and the hope He offers. 2. Stay Active
2. It is amazing how exercise can increase a positive attitude. Perhaps it’s the oxygen that gets to the brain and organs, but everyone feels better when they exercise regularly. Try getting more fresh air as well. It will enable you to think more clearly and not let emotions be your sole guide.
3. If you feel down and alone there is likely someone within your reach who feels as bad or worse. Invite them to go walking with you or to go to a movie or plan a meal together. Use the time when you could be focusing on yourself and your personal aches, to bless someone who may be struggling intensely as well.
4. Don’t be afraid of the normal grieving process if this is your first Christmas after a loss. It is natural to feel down at special times when you would have ordinarily been with a loved one. You can also start new traditions for yourself this year as part of accepting this new phase of your life. And if you think you are feeling dangerously depressed, please let someone know. Don’t be ashamed to get help. We all go through hard times in life and need a helping hand.