Surviving Christmas & SAD

Christmas is one of those times when people seem to love it or hate it.  I was reflecting on this and wondering why that is.  I have decided it could be because our minds take us back to our childhood when things were much more simple.  In my own case Christmas was a day I looked towards anxiously.  My childhood Christmases were almost always fabulous.  The lone exception to that was the Christmas I had the mumps.  If you have never had it, mumps causes severe soreness of the jaw.  Well, would you know it, someone that Christmas gave me some taffy and being a sugar addict, I ate it anyway and endured a large amount of pain of course.

But I think most of us fondly remember our childhood Christmases and we miss those feelings having become adults.  We get bogged down in the shopping madness, the anxiousness over getting exactly the right present for each person, and the craziness of family celebrations.  We dread the traffic around the malls, the crowds in the malls and stores, and the anxiety of finding the store that will give us the best value for what we need to buy.

But I think the solution to our shopping frenzy is a simple one.  We need to keep in mind that we are looking for gifts to give those we love and that whatever work we have to do is worth it.  It is part of showing our love for those we hold dear.  Simply put, however difficult it is, it is worth it in the end.

It is good to remember our childhood years but it is impossible to go back of course.  What is possible is for us to regain that childhood delight for the coming day.  The tree will be there, the presents will be there, loved ones will be there, and we will be there.  The only thing that has really changed is our age.  Enjoying Christmas is a choice we make.  If we choose to enjoy it we will regardless of whatever is going on around us.  If we share our good feelings with others, it is my experience that such good feelings are returned many times over.

Now there is the thing called SAD or seasonal affective disorder.  I heard someone say today that they suffer from it.  I think people who do suffer from it have the misconception that they are in the minority.  I believe that everyone suffers from SAD to one degree or another.  But as in most things it is just a matter of how we choose to deal with it that makes the difference.

For years I found the winter months to be depressing.  I have never minded shoveling snow, but I really dislike the cold.  It is very limiting to my being outside.   I have found at least a partial solution to that situation.  I still dislike the winter months but I fully accept that there is nothing I can do about it short of going to a warmer climate.  I have consciously decided that it is up to me to find things that make me feel good during the winter months.  It is my responsibility to stop the whining about how cold it is outside and just go outside and enjoy life.  I no longer allow myself any excuses, and I think because of that, I do not get depressed.

I have lived in Hawaii and on another tropic island.  But my heart belongs to New England and that being true, I have to accept New England weather as it is.  Railing against it is foolishness.  I gains me nothing.  I have had the opportunity to live elsewhere and have passed on those chances.  Acceptance is the answer to all that bothers me.  I have a feeling that if more people embraced acceptance of where they find themselves, and short of moving, the degree to which they expience SAD is greatly lessened.



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