Let's picture this together. Perhaps you are in this space yourself right now.
It's a few days after Christmas. The bulk of the events are over and there is a sense of sadness and disappointment. The month-long lead up to Christmas has built itself up and fizzled in your face. You are tired, emotionally worn out and feeling grief that comes about this same time each year.
You start falling into an unhealthy pattern - poor sleep habits, bingeing with food, drink, desserts, shopping, video game playing, facebook or whatever it is for you. And, these patterns then start to contribute to the depressed feelings.
Women in particular, tend to feel their depression in self-hatred or self-consciousness around weight and body image. So, the depression triggered by the holidays now looks like this:
"I am too fat."
Yes, it is unrelated to what has happened over Christmas except that maybe you ate more desserts than usual. But, disordered eating sits squarely in the middle of the critical mind.
With the depression and feeling fat comes lots of regrets.
"I should have rested more."
"I should have visited my grandma."
"I shouldn't cook such a huge meal by myself."
Facebook makes Christmas look full of ups and no downs. Everyone is smiling, having a blast, on a sunny beach or with lots of family or friends. Christmas cards are similar.
And (to bring it back to the title of this post) this space between Christmas and New Years becomes this time of reflection. We think about the past year and what has gone poorly. We think about relationships that are over or those that are strained. There is extra time to reflect and wonder.
And yet, if you allow yourself to feel the sadness, you might do better. Instead of avoiding the inevitable sadness and grief that comes with such high expectations and excitement through eating or drinking or shopping, let yourself feel. You may find yourself feeling less depressed and less fat.
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