Lessons from the Scene: Fighting the Creative Blues During the Christmas Holiday By Stanley Leary


by Stanley Leary

Figure 1Figure 2
I feel like Lucy from Peanuts writing this blog. Just like Lucy I am sharing what works for me. 
Everyone knows about the holiday blues. I think creative professionals can feel them because we are trained to tap into our emotions to create.
Since you are always trying to communicate to audiences on emotional levels you might find yourself feeling a little bipolar.  I know I go through this a great deal.
Here are some things that can trigger these blues:
Pressure to feel merry - People are inviting you to parties and decorations are going up all around you. You can get confused when the disparity between what you think others expect you to feel and how you actually feel. This can be like throwing gasoline on a fire.  
Missing of loved ones - This is the time of year we remember our family and friends that are no longer with us. The decorations, sounds and smells of the holidays are powerful triggers for our brains. This feeling of loss can spoil even the most awesome event. 
Loneliness - If you don't have a significant other this can be a hard time of year. 
Financial Hardship - This is the season of giving and when you don't have the finances to give this can bring on depression. You might feel like you are on the outside looking in on the holidays. 
Lack of Sunlight - Some people are affected by the lack of daylight in their lives. This is a seasonal affective disorder
Not much booked on the calendar - This kind of goes with the financial hardship, but I find this affects me the most. 
The Story of Amahl:
Somewhere in the world lives a crippled little shepherd called Amahl, with his mother, an impoverished widow. Nothing is left to them of the little they ever had, and they are now faced with hunger and cold in their empty house. (Christmas production at Roswell Presbyterian Church) 
First of all you need to realize you are not the only one who goes through this. Many of us do. Here are some ways that I deal with not just the blues of the holidays, but the rest of the year.
Acknowledge you feel depressed - It is perfectly OK to be bummed out at times. This is why we appreciate those good times. We know life has its ebbs and flows. 
Sunshine helps - Get outside in the sun for about 20 minutes a day. It will release endorphins that can help fight depression.
Pay it forward - Volunteer in some way to help others. Jeremy Cowart came up with the "Help Portrait Project" that gives back to those who cannot afford a photograph. I think one of the big reasons it has spread like wildfire is so many photographers seek a way to use their talents and this really helps the photographers as much as those who have a professional photo made. 
Fill your calendar - Put some fun events on your calendar of your choosing. Too much time alone will bring you to that familiar depressing spot. 
These are tips you will see many different places. The one thing that I find that has helped the most is keeping a journal. Sure my journal has recordings of depressing times in my life, but it also has a lot of good times recorded for me to remember.
Amahl finds healing when he and his mother focus on giving rather than receiving. 
Count your Blessings - Even if you don't have a journal of things to help jog your memory there are always things to see as positives, no matter how bad it is right now. 
I remember going through:  
a divorce; 
being laid off; 
being fired; 
loosing family and friends 
I also am so very thankful for: 

my wife; 
my step-sons and my daughter; 
a lovely home; 
my parents; 
my sisters and their families; 
I have jobs and fun on my calendar 

I can tell you honestly that all of those blessings have not been enough sometimes for me. The one thing that has sustained me more than anything else has been my God. It is faith that has gotten me through the toughest of times. 
"Hope is the Assurance we have of victory in the future. Based on evidence from the past, the first Easter, which gives us Confidence and strength in the present." 
- Dr. Lane Alderman, pastor Roswell Presbyterian Church