For many years right after Christmas, I would feel this huge sense of let down and it left me feeling confused and depressed. It would take me several days to feel less depressed and be able to enjoy the time off with my family. The weird thing was that I enjoyed Christmas Day so much, especially when the kids were young. I enjoyed watching them open their presents, helping them with their toys and the mess that came with all of it!
I realize now that the days leading up to Christmas were hectic and busy and the days after Christmas were slow and lazy. Because I’m highly sensitive this was a difficult transition, to go from being so busy to having the whole week off after Christmas. I also realize that if I have too much down time, I get bored and then I get depressed. That’s always been a fun thing to manage with my high sensitivity. But once I realized this was related to transitions and boredom, I haven’t been depressed or antsy for many years.
Whether we like it or not, this time of year is filled with transitions of all kinds. This year might have been slightly different for many of us but normally this time of year is so busy. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually a blur and while the transition to the New Year is usually a little less hectic, it goes so fast! I believe that is why I used to get depressed after Christmas, because it’s just so many transitions in a short period of time.
When I would get depressed, my mind would spiral into all kinds of negative thoughts, like: “why can’t a just enjoy this time with my family?” and “why couldn’t I just be happy?” In addition to me feeling depressed because of this time of year being full of transitions, I realized I had a lot of cognitive distortions playing in my mind. Cognitive distortions are the lies we tell ourselves that lead to thinking and doing things that lead us to negative behaviors. For example, when I would be depressed right after Christmas, and I would tell myself, “I must not enjoy my family.” This would lead me to think all sorts of things that weren’t true, such as, I’m not a good mom, I wish I were more put together, etc. There are many types of cognitive distortions and they are never helpful until you’re able to identify them and do something to change them. It seemed fitting to create something to help you do the same for the coming year.
I’ve said before that I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because they leave so many people feeling defeated and ashamed. I do think it’s a good idea to think about things you’d like to change for the coming year. I always think it’s a good idea to focus on changing one thing, then adding more as that one becomes part of your daily routine. I also think it’s a great time to tackle a negative thought or two that keeps coming up for you! Last week I shared how I realized that rejection in past friendships protected me from toxic friends or situations. And I did that through journaling for 15 minutes a day (or less). And I’ve created a 21-Day journal challenge so that you can change your negative thinking in the new year too!
The 21 Day Journaling Challenge will start on January 1, 2021. You can grab your free copy here. I will also post questions on social media along the way to help you with your journaling in case you get stuck. I hope you will be able to use this tool to identify your negative thinking, and then be able to change it to one that is more truthful.
I hope this explanation of how the 21-Day Journaling Challenge will help you understand your negative thoughts and rewire your brain. If you need more help understanding the HSP trait, please feel free to contact me at 317.496.0456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to hear what is happening and help you find the right fit for counseling. If you are looking for help with depression, anxiety, trauma or behavioral concerns, you can read more about how I can help at my website peacefamilycounseling.com