By Van Moody
The holidays are here and while many people are decking the halls and enjoying festive parties, millions of Americans are suffering silently from holiday sadness and depression also known as “holiday blues”.
There are many causes of “holiday blues”, from loss of loved ones during the holiday season and feelings of loneliness, to monetary stress and pressure to buy extravagant presents. Added to the emotional toll is the drop in temperatures outside and shorter daylight hours.
In fact, according to Psychology Today, more than 10 million Americans suffer from a more severe form of holiday blues, called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, which is a depression that normally occurs in winter months.
But, here’s the kicker. In so many of our personal experiences, we know much of the holiday stress often stems from strained relationships and unhealed hurts between family members. The tensions are magnified around the holiday dinner table.
Even more than 40 percent of the population reported that they feel exhausted and inadequate during the holidays. While it takes two to tango (or fight), and feelings of inadequacy can be triggered by outside forces, in my study of people and relationships, I’ve learned that behind all our stumbles, behind each of our missteps, behind every one of our failings, lies an inability to handle our I-Factor. I-Factor is your relationship with yourself; the internal struggles that can often stand between you and the life you want to live.
The hard, but transformative truth is that no person or situation is responsible for what happens in our lives, or emotions…even during the holidays. The outcome of our struggles is directly related to how we choose to respond. The strength of your I-Factor ultimately determines whether you will help yourself or hinder yourself as you go through life; whether you will give in to the “holiday blues” or fight your way back to a healthy, happy holiday season.
Here are a few tips to help you overcome I-Factor issues related to holiday blues:
1. Identify the underlying cause, the I-Factor issues, that lead to holiday blues.
2. Develop a plan of attack to fix I-Factor issues.
3. Spend time with people who make you feel happy and loved.
4. Engage in activities that you enjoy.
5. If holiday blues are brought on because of lost loved ones, create a way to honor them.
6. Keep a daily gratitude journal. Reflecting will remind you of all the great things in your life.
7. Practice positive self-talk. Positive self-talk helps repair and maintain a healthy I-factor.
8. Learn to forgive, starting with yourself!
If you learn to master these tips, you will be one step closer to mastering your I-Factor and kicking holiday blues to the curb. More than self-worth or self-respect, beyond even character and perception of purpose, The I-Factor is about managing yourself-your whole life-well. So, this holiday season, prepare to overcome the internal feelings that have been holding you back and start to enjoy the love and laughter of the holiday season again.
Van Moody serves as pastor of The Worship Center in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, he is on the board of Joel Osteen’s Champions Network, is a member of Dr. Oz’s Core Team, and is an associate trainer in Japan for Dr. John Maxwell’s EQUIP leadership organization. His perennial bestseller, The People Factor, was released in 2014 and his latest book, “The I-Factor: How Building a Great Relationship with Yourself Is the Key to a Happy, Successful Life” was released on November 22, 2016. Moody, his wife, Ty, and their children, live in Birmingham, Alabama. www.ifactorbook.com