A Blue Christmas: Dealing with Sadness and Loneliness during the Holidays

Posted on December 16, 2018

by Amy H

The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are often associated with joy, love, generosity, and unity. But for many people, this time of year magnifies loneliness, anxiety, grief and despair. Often while many people cheerfully (or even just neutrally) move through holiday traditions and gatherings, those who are hurting often feel even more lost, abandoned and alone than ever. There are resources that can help. Here are just a few….

Library Resources

Topics include anxiety, depression, fear, loneliness, coping strategies, mindfulness, stress management, self-acceptance and more.

Are U OK? : A Guide to Caring For Your Mental Health : How to Know if You Need Help & Where to Find It by Kati Morton

Licensed marriage and family therapist Morton walks readers through the most common questions about mental health and the process of getting help — from finding the best therapist to navigating harmful and toxic relationships and everything in between. In the same down-to-earth, friendly tone that makes her YouTube videos so popular, Morton clarifies and destigmatizes the struggles so many of us go through and encourages readers to reach out for help.

A Walk in the Wood: Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh by Joseph Parent and Nancy Parent

Offers life lessons grounded in the simple act of slowing down, observing what is around us, and being present in our lives moment by moment. The benefits of mindfulness are well recognized: greater peace of mind, less stress, and the opportunity to work through and transform thoughts, memories, and worries. It also fosters equanimity, helping us accept the changes and challenges life brings. “A Walk in the Wood” is both inspiring and instructive. Discover along with Pooh that mindfully exploring and experiencing the simple joys of nature is an ideal path for working on your own habits, attitudes, and emotions, while cultivating more meaningful relationships with others.

The Anatomy of Loneliness: How to Find Your Way Back to Connection by Teal Swan

This book is for people who suffer from loneliness, the kind that cannot be solved by simply being around other people. Their aloneness is a deeply embedded pattern that is both negative and painful; it is often fueled by trauma, loss, addiction, grief and a lack of self-esteem and insecurity. Teal identifies the three pillars or qualities of loneliness: Separation, Shame, and Fear and goes on to share a series of exercises where practitioners learn to face their fears, eventually reaching a place of unconditional love and acceptance.

Fear Less: Living Beyond Fear, Anxiety, Anger and Addiction by Dean Sluyter

Often at the holidays there a million shades of fear, anxiety, anger and the addictions that grow out of them. How can you navigate these and find your way to peace? Acclaimed teacher and award-winning author Dean Sluyter shows how to use simple meditative techniques and subtle tweaks of body, mind, and breath to open your life to deep, relaxed confidence. Drawing on ancient enlightenment teachings as well as contemporary research, he lays out practical, easy-to-follow steps to help overcome the emotions and habits that stop us from enjoying life.

The Gifts of Imperfection: let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

With original research and plenty of encouragement, Brown explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an “imperfect” life and embracing living authentically. In a world where insults, criticisms, and fears are spread too generously alongside messages of unrealistic beauty, attainment, and expectation, we look for ways to “dig deep” and find truth and gratitude in our lives, embracing imperfection and living wholeheartedly.

Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise

A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day; its “too small to fail” nature makes it weightless, deceptively powerful, and a superior habit-building strategy. You will have no choice but to believe in yourself when you’re always moving forward. The barrier to the first step is so low that even depressed or “stuck” people can find early success and begin to reverse their lives right away. And if you think one push-up a day is too small to matter, read otherwise in this book.

The Mindful way through depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness by John Williams et al.

Four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience.

An Invitation to Self-Care: Why Learning to Nurture Yourself Is the Key to the Life You’ve Always Wanted: 7 Principles for Abundant Living by Tracey Cleantis

A day of indulgence at home on the couch might help us unwind and feel temporarily renewed, but is that all there is to self-care? In this book Tracey Cleantis shows why real self-care is more than just routine self-indulgence—it’s a lifelong practice that’s essential to one’s well-being. Tracey invites you to consider self-care across your relationships, finances, spiritual and professional life—and more. By accepting who we are, what we need, and how those needs evolve over time, we create space for self-care’s transformational healing in our lives.

Reinforcements: How to Get People to Help You by Heidi Grant

Even though the primary audience here is the workplace, the concept is a solid one for those who feel isolated. We all need to know when and how to call in the cavalry. However, asking people for help isn’t intuitive; in fact, a lot of our instincts are wrong. As a result, we do a poor job of calling in the reinforcements we need, leaving confused or even offended colleagues in our wake. This pragmatic book explains how to get it right. With humor, insight, and engaging storytelling, Heidi Grant, PhD, describes how to elicit helpful behavior from your friends, family, and colleagues–in a way that leaves them feeling genuinely happy to lend a hand.

Online information on coping with the stresses of the holiday season

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping from the Mayo Clinic

Coping with the Holidays Survival Guide from Psych Central

Social gathering survival advice: Tips for Combating Social Anxiety from Mental Floss

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