Ever have the Christmas blues?

No? Well, a lot of people do and for different reasons. Some people miss the good times in the past or have bad memories of Christmas, someone may have died, or you could be alone.

When I first joined AA, a woman told us that Christmas was really bad for her when she was growing up. So, she said she that she would hole up in her room on Christmas Day with food and booze. Whoa!

She said, “I would buy presents for my kids then go into my bedroom and stay there for a few days drinking and listening to my favourite “hurtin’ music.” Eschia!

I didn’t understand how she could be sad at Christmas, because my parents made sure Christmas was always a happy time in our house. But I do understand now. Our greatest need is connection!

The Christmas season is when most people seem to ooze joy and good cheer. So, what to do when everyone around you is smiling and you’re feeling blue?

First, remember you’re not alone. The “Christmas blues” are real and quite common. Second, don’t beat yourself up for what you’re feeling.

Google can help – really

And third, turn to Google. Google? Yup, Google helps you with everything else, why not this? Find a reputable site and read about some of the major causes and best remedies for the “Christmas or holiday blues.”

For instance, many of us have lost a friend or a relative and we might feel guilty or think that it’s disrespectful to the memory of that person to be happy during the holidays.

First off, stop feel guilty. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to stop your life because they’re gone. Instead, perhaps you could honour their memory by making an ornament or writing a poem about them.

And, it’s OK to feel sad and let others know that you miss your loved one. You could even tell stories of good times together. After all, a smile is just as loving as a tear. Yep, yep, yep.

If your current situation isn’t the best, you might be wishing for the happier times in your past.

That’s a no-no! Nothing can bring back the past. But, you can do something about the present.

If old traditions make you sad, create new ones. For instance, if your kids have moved out, make that family cookie recipe and bring cookies to the hospital. And if it’s too hard to stay where you are, go someplace that doesn’t hold any memories.

Be around people

Christmas can be tough for people who don’t have a partner or family nearby. To boot, lonely people may isolate themselves which will make them feel even worse. Not cool.

What to do? Get off your butt and be around people. You don’t have to go to a big event; some short trips to your favourite cafe or a store will do.

Remember, you’ll feel better just by talking to someone for a few minutes or simply exchanging smiles. Here are some things to try:

Talk to someone, invite people over who are also alone, attend events like AA meetings or sober dances, do things in the evenings, be around kids, play games and upbeat music – not hurtin’ music.

Being active is good medicine, so go skidooing, walking, jogging, working out, skating, playing sports, or sliding. Now you’re talking.

And it feels awesome to help people. So, volunteer at community events or the Sally Ann, cook for people, cut wood for someone or shovel their driveway, or visit someone in the hospital.

Avoid drinking, drugs

Very important: avoid drinking and doing drugs. Why? Because alcohol is a depressant and you’ll feel the high for a short while, but you’ll feel worse when you sober up. Oh ya.

If you’re still feeling blue, there are two places you can call for free support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are both 100 per cent free and confidential with trained people to help you with any number of concerns. Woohoo.

NWT residents can call the NWT Help Line at 1-800-661-0844. You can also call the IRS Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 from anywhere in Canada.

Don’t forget to get out and be around people.

Merry Christmas from the Dene Wellness Warriors and many blessings for 2020.

Roy Erasmus

Roy Erasmus Sr. Is a certified wellness counsellor who survived heart disease and a former member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

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