By Juliana Bateman, Bayview Director of Spiritual Care
Being extra tender with ourselves and each other is especially important during the winter holiday times. Struggling with depression or loneliness, especially over the holidays, is a common phenomenon. In commercials, ads, magazines, and in TV shows we are fed the idea that we should be feeling cheery and celebratory. But what if we are grieving a recent loss? Or are ill or dealing with an injury? Or we just don’t feel like celebrating?
Similarly, we are given the idea that during the holidays, even if only for the holidays, our families should be getting along well and doing well. We want our families and our relationships to be happy with no drama, baggage, or dysfunction. But the truth is, our families and relationships, are complicated, and often have times of conflict.
You may want to consider a non-conventional holiday. If you can afford to travel, it might be a good time for a change of scenery. I know of people who order take-out and go to the movies on holidays. There are no right or wrong ways of doing holidays.
The shortest day of the year comes on December 21st, the winter solstice. Many churches now offer a Blue Christmas service, a time and space for those who are grieving or depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing! It is hard for the human body and soul to be without light, either literal or symbolic!
However, you decide to mark the holidays, take good care of yourselves and each other this winter! Escape to different landscapes through good books or movies, savor the warmth of the fire place, enjoy your favorite seasonal delicacies, pumpkin pie or egg nog anyone? Take Vitamin D, and try to get some exercise to get those happy serotonin levels to rise!
Maybe even remind yourself that spring is coming! While nature rests and hibernates in order to enable the exuberant blossoming and growth to come, may you also enjoy rest and warmth this season.