While it seems this is supposed to be "the most wonderful time of the year", many people, feel depressed. I can resonate. For years I felt a dark during this time of the year but never understood why and forced myself to smile and fake it. Why did I feel so sad and heavy when society told me I should feel happy?
Over the years of sobriety, self-development and self-discovery I learned that there were so many contributing factors:
1. Stressful end-of-year deadlines...I remember feeling this when I was working in corporate America and pharmaceutical research. One year in particular stands out. I was working in an oncology research center on Christmas Eve because the holidays weren’t a factor when we were administering life-saving therapies to cancer patients. I was also Fed Ex’ing time sensitive data on Christmas Day. While I was grateful to be doing such important work I was equally wishing I could have a break from the nonstop grind.
2. Looming expectations of New Year's resolutions, goals and taxes....Yep. As crazy as it is, there's research that shows we have an unconscious pressure around making New Years resolutions. There’s also an unconscious guilt that we feel for not meeting our previous year’s resolutions. And research that shows an internal discord because we’re spending more in this month than any other time of the year but there’s also another tax season is on the horizon.
3. Memories...of old family dysfunction are common for many. The holidays often involve lots of parties, alcohol, drunken mishaps and growing up in homes with alcoholic parents. This can stir up all kinds of emotional heaviness that hangs around our mood and depletes our physical energy.
4. Sugar...With all the parties and socializing also comes poor eating, white flour, sugar and carbs, which all unfortunately contribute to mood swings, irritability, brain fog, fatigue. If you have a predisposition to addiction or depression, eating these foods will only enhance the blues and anxiety. In a culture that is saturated with sugar, I know it is hard to resist the temptations at every corner, but there's so much research out that shows direct correlations between sugar and depression.
5. Darkness...This one has been the most interesting for me to embrace. With the increasingly cold and dark winter days, it’s easy for the holiday season to feel not-so-merry and bright. As we approach the winter solstice, we are entering the darkest days of the year. In the past I forced myself to be social, outgoing and extroverted. But then I remembered that darkness isn't bad, it is just an invitation to be more introspective, take stock of our year, what we liked, what we didn't like, and starting holding energy and intentions for how we want to be and feel in our lives moving forward.
If you are struggling, there's no need to do it alone. I am here. I am offering offering individual Reiki and Coaching sessions to support YOU through the holidays. Visit my website to schedule your session now through January 30th.
60-minute Reiki Sessions, in-person or virtual: https://www.gwendittmar.com/reiki/
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