The Christmas season is known for triggering anxiety and depression among many–especially young professionals.
Although there are a myriad of reasons for this, I’m going to highlight what I have seen and experienced to be the #1 cause.
The Christmas season is “supposed” to be filled with “joy” and “peace.” However, for many young professionals, their lives are anything but joyful and peaceful during November and December. They are blitzing through work trying to finish up every lingering project and frantically trying to tie a bow on and close out their lives for the year.
They go from their normal cruising speed of 200/mph to light-speed emotionally and then expect themselves to all of a sudden, and within a matter of a few days–slam on the breaks, stop, relax, unplug, smile (really smile), be joyful, peaceful, and present to those they love and themselves!?!
I’m reminded of the scene in Forest Gump when Forest scores the touchdown but continues to run right out of the stadium. We run so fast and hard to get past the goal line of Christmas break only to realize that our emotions continue to sprint right on past us!
It’s like trying to stop a locomotive on a sheet of ice.
Anxiety and depression then falls upon us when we realize that we weren’t who we thought we would be for Christmas. We were supposed to be peaceful, thankful, and kind but mentally and emotionally we were absent, agitated, and pissed.
We emotionally envisioned ourselves, others, and the Christmas season to be one way, but when we found ourselves in the moment, nothing or no one was as we expected–especially ourselves.
So, as you sprint towards Christmas break, have realistic expectations of yourself and others. Give yourself and them the grace to not be perfect and to not be “all there.” Don’t beat yourself up for not being as “joyful” as you “should.”
If you do, it will be in that moment of grace that you will glimpse into the meaning and hope of Christmas…
Emmanuel–Christ with you–just as you are.