How to Cope with a Blue Christmas

Do you have the Christmas blues? You are not alone. In fact, as much as I love Christmas and everything about it, I am having a Blue Christmas and I am really, really sad. Perhaps you have experienced

  • A recent breakup or divorce.
  • The passing of a loved one.
  • You lost a pet.
  • Separation from a loved one.
  • Dementia in a parent or grandparent.
  • Child custody issues.
  • An illness or watching a loved one suffer.
  • Empty nest: children moved away.
  • A personal setback or disappointment.
  • Family conflicts.
  • Seasonal depression (SAD) or other form of depression.
  • Memories of sad events that happened during Christmas.
  • Loneliness or isolation.
  • Anxiety about the pandemic, social injustice, the environment or world events.

Grief must be experienced and how long it takes to work through it is different for everyone. Well, I have an idea. This year, instead of fleeing from your feelings of sadness and pain associated with the holidays, let’s embrace them and make it a true Blue Christmas.

At least, just for today, or just for December 21st, which is the official Blue Christmas Day, accept that this is part of you. The idea behind fully experiencing my grief was suggested to me in grief therapy. It is evidently better to acknowledge and experience your feelings than to repress them. We may even celebrate our capacity to grieve, because if we experience pain and loss, it is a testament to our abilty to love and care.

Here are some ideas for a meaningful Blue Christmas

(1) Atttend the Washington National Cathedral service tonight. There will be a Blue Christmas service at 7 p.m. ET for people who are experiencing grief or loss this Christmas season. The service will be broadcast online on YouTube and you may also attend in person in Washington, DC. If needed, you may arrange in advance to speak with a chaplain for spiritual support by pre-registering.

If you can’t go, you can view the entire Blue Christmas service from last year on YouTube.

(2) Wear blue tonight and/or on December 21st, which is Blue Christmas Day.

(3) Does misery love company? Maybe! if you have some grieving friends or family members, you could have a Blue Christmas dinner or get together.

(4) Learn about the experience of grief. This counselor really understands what it means to experience grief around the holidays. I learned a lot from this video.

(5) Decorate a mini tree or wreath with blue and silver decorations. Or string up some blue lights. You can even get a blue poinsettia from Michael’s!

(6) Hang up a blue Christmas stocking and fill it with self-care items for yourself.

(7) Buy a blue spiral notebook or journal. Light a blue candle  and write down your feelings as specifically as you can, such as “I am feeling defeated because ________.” “I am feeling lonely.” “I am so disappointed about __________.” Or write a letter to the person or thing you lost or miss in your journal and how much you love them. (You need never send this).

(8) Write a letter in blue ink to yourself in your journal to be read in a year about how you feel today and your hopes for your healing a year from now.

(9) Buy yourself a pretty blue Christmas card and display it.

(10) Listen to Elvis sing Blue Christmas.

(11) Stock up on tissues and allow yourself to cry as much as you need to. Need some privacy? Drive your car to an empty church parking lot and play some Christmas music. Believe me, you will cry. Still not crying? Emotionally congested? Watch Judy Garland sing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, which has got to be one of the saddest Christmas songs (among so many sad Christmas songs!)

(12) Sometimes the people closest to you don’t truly understand what you are going through, or you don’t want to bum them out. Anonymous help is available with a text. Send a text to 741 741. It is excellent, free support when you need it. I have used it and it helped me.

(13) You may feel that your mood has made you feel more tired or that it takes longer to do things than it used to. You may have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Try to reduce your work demands and build in extra time for rest and relaxation in your schedule. You need this for healing.

(14) Yoga is highly effective for grief. Here is a yoga workout for grief from Adrienne.

In this video, I talk about journaling about your grief and setting aside time to face it.

I hope you found this supportive in your time of grief, loss or pain. Take care.



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