“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” “Joy to the world!” “Happy Holidays!” Right now commercial advertisements abound with manufactured scenes of perfect lives. This time of year we are surrounded by what can be an over abundance of messages that can lead to sadness and depression when we compare our lives to the hyped up images. . Unfortunately, if someone is experiencing something less than the unrealistic joy portrayed in the media, these messages can even lead to hopelessness and thoughts of suicide.

Even for the generally happy person, holidays can lead to stress and a sense of inadequacy.

If you are finding the holidays are bringing you down, take these steps to protect yourself from the negativity that can arise.

1- First-remove the weight of this time of year, or a particular day by recognizing that it IS JUST ANOTHER DAY. The media and culture has created it. (As for Christmas, It is actually thought that Jesus was born in the spring, the church adopted a pagan holiday to attach it to. And, after all- would Jesus want you all stressed out?!) You don’t need buy into it.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, let friends and family know- maybe even suggest creating your own family date to be together that eliminates the pressure of being so much to so many.

3- Practice meditation. If you haven’t meditated before, simply take a few quiet minutes every day. Imagine you are standing on this date on the calendar, and you can float high above a big calendar showing every day of the year. See how small it is, and how it looks like all the other dates. Float even higher, above years of calendar days. See how truly small and unimportant any individual day is.

4- Make plans for sometime following the holidays, maybe to take a course you would enjoy, or plan a trip you can look forward to. Start making a list of what you will be enjoying when you carry out your plans! This will help you focus on the future, and good things to come.

5- Keep it simple, don’t overextend your bank account or energy. Consider a gift exchange with a single draw of names and spending limit. A useful gift or one of meaning is better than another unneeded “thing”. Perhaps a framed photo, coffee or tea assortment, the always popular bottle of wine, an audio book for the commuter- think outside the advertisers box.

Come up with your own list of ways to truly have happy holidays. Take control and create your own good experiences.

If you find yourself feeling hopeless, don’t be embarrassed to discuss it with friends and family. You are not alone! Remember, “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” That solution is always available, but using it eliminates all other options-including experiencing the happiness that you can find in your future.

So, wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of “holiday joy” this time of year, take it easy on yourself and those around you. After all, its just another day!

For anyone who is experiencing thoughts of suicide please call a help line for yourself – and for those who love you. Your life matters more than you know.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

If you have a friend or family member who seems to be depressed you can visit the suicide prevention website for more information to help


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