Regulars and Shorts

Coach Jeannette: Happy Holidays

By Jeannette Maw

For real.

How many articles have you seen about “beating the holiday blues”? It’s commonly understood that many are susceptible to depression and even suicide during year end holidays.

But that’s a myth!

There is no statistical evidence indicating that depression or suicides increase this time of year. One of the largest studies conducted found “no increase in suicides or psychiatric admissions around the Christmas and New Year holidays.” Other studies also verified that national suicide rates for December and January were either average or below average.

So let’s give ourselves a break with that story. In fact, we may just be setting ourselves up for challenges that don’t even exist as we read all that well-intended advice.

The holidays can be an easy time to appreciate life, to celebrate with loved ones (including your Self), and to look forward to a fresh slate in the new year. That’s easier to do when we consciously let go of stor­ies about the annoying commercialism of Christmas, too much to do in too little time, or whatever else that doesn’t contribute to an enjoyable holiday experience.   

Having said that, for those who do find themselves struggling with depression this time of year, urban shaman Gabrielle Roth has an interesting take on the cause:

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person

complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:

When did you stop dancing?

When did you stop singing?

When did you stop being enchanted by stories?

When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

I consider it good advice, no matter the time of year or our state of mind, to focus on what brings us joy. And it seems the holidays afford ample opportunity to indulge in more dancing, singing and storytelling than usual. Celebrate with friends, take advantage of volunteer opportunities to make new ones, enjoy the stories at the holiday dinner tables, and make a point of gifting yourself some solitude.  

With a game plan like that, we’re bound to have happy holidays for real. u

Jeannette Maw is a Law of Attraction coach and founder of Good Vibe Coaching in Salt Lake City.

This article was originally published on November 30, 2011.