You know how the old song goes, “Tis’ the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.” The Christmas season is officially in full swing. The decorations are up, the parties are beginning, churches are planning their Christmas plays, and yet you feel like you want to hide under the covers until it all goes away. Well, here is the good news. You are not a weirdo, you are simply SAD! SAD in this sense is the acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder and there are more than 3 million cases in the U.S. per year. The technical definition for SAD is, “a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time each year.” People may experience: Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, or sadness Sleep: excess sleepiness, insomnia, or sleep deprivation Whole body: appetite changes or fatigue Behavioral: irritability or social isolation Also common: depression, lack of concentration, or weight gain.
I am no therapist, however I decided to share this information because this occurs in a lot of people. And if you have recently experienced loss in your family you definitely have to be on guard against Seasonal Affective Disorder around the holidays. Having lost my father in September I noticed when the holidays came around it felt like a dark cloud came with it. My entire family struggled with these feelings and decided to be intentional about overcoming them.
I wanted to share a few tips that we personally are doing to overcome and combat these SAD feelings around the holidays.
- If you have lost a loved one, remember them with a special Christmas tree ornament, cook their favorite meals, or engage in their favorite activity. My family has decided on Christmas Eve to have family Karaoke in honor of my dad. He loved it, and so we are going to have some fun doing his fav activity over the holidays.
- Serve someone else! I recently had the honor of planning a baby-shower this month along with my small group for women at a crisis pregnancy center. It felt amazing to give back and to focus less on my loss and more on the beauty of giving. There are tons of giving opportunities in this season. Connect with your local church, homeless shelters and more to get on their calendar. Being the hands and feet of Jesus through service always lessons the load of sadness or grief.
- Go to the Christmas party sis! That’s an order. LOL But seriously, you will always feel better when you make yourself get dressed and go out when you don’t feel like it. Participate in a gift exchange with your closest girlfriends, go to dinner and then go dancing! Go ice skating with a group of friends and laugh at each other as you attempt to keep your balance. Whatever you need to do to have fun do that!
- Go to a comedy show, or have a funny movie night! Give the sad dramas a rest, and fulfill your need to laugh by being intentional about what you watch.
- Last but definitely not least! Praise your way through it. Keep your favorite worship and praise songs on throughout the day and sing along. You have to get super intentional with your worship during this season. It not only puts you in remembrance of why we are celebrating but it takes the focus off of you and puts it on Christ. <3
Finally, if you just can’t seem to shake of the SAD-ness. It’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with getting counseling. In fact, it’s smart to get counseling. It takes a wise, humble and strong woman to know when she needs help and needs to process her emotions. And if you simply need someone to understand, this newsletter is my #metoo to you. I get it and you are never alone.