The holiday blues. We’ve all had them. In fact there were times in my life that I faked my way through the holidays with a plastic smile and tear filled eyes.

What gives you the holiday blues?

At this time of the year emotions and feelings are stirred up which stem from our past and most often from our childhood, as unresolved issues and memories flood our mind. Anger, sadness, fear and loneliness pop up. Feelings of being unloved, unwanted and not good enough make their way into our day. Depression surfaces and listening to Elvis sing, “A Blue Christmas,” becomes a soothing way to pass the time.

Financial stress adds to the holiday blues. Increased spending creates fear and worry for the future. Pressure to buy certain gifts makes our blood pressure rise. The financial strain affects our mental state, health and our relationships with other people.

High expectations increase the holiday blues. Expectations we place on ourselves to create the perfect Christmas weigh heavy. Feeling pressured to meet other people expectations add to the stress causing us to drop down into the blue zone.

For many people the holiday blues rise up around issues with food. Temptations abound. Healthy eating and exercise regimes are abandoned for more egg nog, sugar cookies and “Oh my, is that grandma’s famous apple pie?” We view food as good and bad. A nibble here and nibble there ends up in a binge. We beat ourselves up for our slip. Thoughts of not looking good create dread when visiting family who last saw us at our best. Fear of food and food events plague our waking thoughts. Overeating causes us to bloat, feel tired, sluggish and run down. We end up feeling like crap. And the blues play on.

According to a recent findings published by the Canadian Mental Health Association, 24% of Canadians feel really stressed about once a month. Forty-three percent of the population feels really stressed a few times a week and 9% feel really stressed all the time.

During the holidays all kinds of issues, thoughts, behaviors and emotions that we have buried rise to the surface. Add to them our everyday stresses and the blues can really get us down.

So what do you do if you are feeling blue?

Acknowledge your feelings. This act honors your self and allows healing to begin.

Write down the thoughts, feelings and behaviors you catch yourself trapped in. Flushing out the negative patterns which need attention helps you to become consciously aware of what is fueling your blues.

Reflect on the findings and notice if you can connect them to your childhood or a specific incident. Does anyone else in your family exhibit the same behavior or tendency?

Once you have faced the issue consciously forgive yourself and anyone else who many have been a contributing factor. Forgiveness allows for release and healing within the mind, body and soul. Forgiveness is powerful.

Set positive intentions for this holiday season. Slow down. Let go of your expectations. Break old habits and start new traditions. Spend less money and more time with people. Look at food as nourishment rather then as good or bad or something to soothe your emotions. Get your body moving and exercise to release feel good hormones. Spend a few minutes each day meditating on what is working in your life and what you are grateful for.

When you are ready to take the step to clear away the heavy baggage, work with a professional to help you to heal your emotions and thoughts at their core. Healing the source of your blues creates long lasting change and a holly jolly Christmas.

~Love, Esther

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