Dr. Swisher,  Is it bad if I or my loved ones get down during the Holidays? Please help. Calista, Defiance, Ohio

Hello Calista. Thanks for writing and asking this important question.  The Holiday Season is viewed as a joyous, celebratory experience. However, for a number of people this time of year is anything but blissful.

Dr. Jain, the Director of the Clinical Research Center says “Every time depression visits it leaves a fingerprint of a hurt, a sad event or a troubling memory.”

To specifically answer your question it isn’t “bad” to get down but it certainly doesn’t feel good nor is it the optimum experience.  The Bible reminds us that “Jesus brought light into the World” and that “He came to give us abundant life.”   If you aren’t feeling that way at the moment try these tips that just might help:

  1. Send a Christmas card to yourself..Writing about your feelings can actually help soothe and even change them.  Dr. Darlene Mininni author of “The Emotional Toolkit” states, “People who write about their deepest feelings are less depressed, less anxious about life.”
  2. Give a gift that allows the recipient to Unwrap Your Heart....Elvis Presley always said “the gifts that mean the most to me are the ones that someone has made or crafted from love.”  You could enlarge a favorite photo and put it in a beautiful frame or make a craft,  a Gingerbread house or a handmade card.  When you give from the heart both you and those who receive will be touched.
  3. Avoid Scrooges and Grinches...”Protect yourself from negative people that deplete your Holiday Spirit.  These may include drama queens, blamers, criticizes and others.  Dr. Judith Orloff suggests we should “Instead make it a point to be around positive, hope-filled people.”  Your spiritual and emotional atmosphere directly impacts your mood and feelings.
  4. Give Santa a Helping Hand...Get out and help someone.  We are surrounded by others who need our help.
  5. Remember it really is “A Wonderful Life.”  Talk to supportive friends...find and offer support. Be grateful for what you have and all of the positive things in your life.

Join us at Epworth UMC this Christmas Season and get ready to experience a meaningful and heartfelt Holiday.