Now that we have celebrated Thanksgiving, the holiday season is in full swing. The parties at work, along with celebrations with friends and family, can mean a month long food and drink fest with a promise to make amends at the New Year. It can also mean the start of the holiday blues.

From a psychological perspective, indulgence can be a response to feeling emotionally deprived, which can escalate during the holiday season with its focus on abundance. We may be without a partner, family, friends, and/or work during the holidays. We may have all of these things, but be haunted by unpleasant memories from the past, which are known to surface during the holidays. Filling ourselves up with food and drink helps to soothe the anxiety and pain that can lurk beneath our holiday festivities. The relief is only temporary and we often feel worst after the fact. Emotional eating is very powerful since it socially acceptable over drinking and turning to drugs.

Rather than go on a massive food and drink frenzy this holiday season, acknowledging and accepting the very feelings seeking expression is a healthier choice. Allowing these feelings to surface in an accepting way gives us a second chance to come to grips with them. Labeling feelings actually lowers their intensity so they are not as overwhelming as we anticipate them to be. The fight against them is the hardest battle and the real source of stress.

Taking time each day to be mindful of our unpleasant feelings without the battlefield of defenses and sparing judgment is a different twist for many people facing the holiday blues and the temptation of overindulgence. But put into practice there will be less blues during the holidays and a lot more sunshine.

Journaling and confiding with friends also can take off the edge of holiday doldrums. When we confide in others, we often find that we are not alone in our feelings, which always gives a boost of emotional penicillin. Whatever methods you choose, working toward emotional expression can bring a new dimension to the holiday season.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates.

Photo- June Rousso