Reversing Holiday Sadness

by creating a truly holy day

Written By Renée Miller

There are times when we look forward to the holidays with eagerness and excitement, and there are times when we find ourselves dreading their arrival. It may be that we are alone and holidays only intensify that reality. It may be that we are so busy we cannot imagine finding the time for holiday preparations. It may be that we have had experiences of past holidays that have left us feeling scratched and marred. Or we are unable to compete with the financial demands of holiday expectations. Perhaps family is far away, and we will have no way to experience anew the warmth and coziness that holidays brought us in the past.

Every year we hear of new ways to deal with the depression so common during the holiday season, and yet every year we find ourselves struggling with the same feelings we’ve had before.

This year try taking a walk back in time to the 14th Century, when the word holiday—halidaeg in Old English—meant holy day. In Medieval times, a holiday was understood to be a religious festival. Like the Sabbath it was to be a day of recreation. By the 16th Century, the pronunciation and sense of the word had changed and become more secularized.

Imagine how you might create a holy day—a day of recreation—for yourself. Would it be quiet or lively? Would you read or play golf? Would you eat in or eat out? Would you be with people or alone? Would you take walks or sleep? Would you go to church or pray at home? Would you listen to music or want to be in silence?

Instead of dreading the holidays this year, why not create your own holy day—day of Sabbath, of recreation? Don’t wait until the holidays are upon you. Begin creating your day now. You might just find that giving yourself permission to plan your day will dispel depression and make your heart feel light with joy.

Tip to try:
Plan for your 14th Century holidaeg by keeping an Enjoyment Envelope.

Keep a small stack of 3x5 cards handy. When you notice that you are enjoying something or someone, or looking forward to something, or longing for some special food or drink, write it down on one of the cards and place it in the envelope. Before the holidays arrive, take an hour to plan out how you will spend the upcoming day. Use the cards in the enjoyment envelope to help you design your special day.

Copyright ©2007 Renée Miller