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10 Holiday Blues Only People With Depression Would Understand

10 Holiday Blues Only People With Depression Would Understand

The holidays are supposed to be a time for joy and celebration; however, not everyone feels the same. If you suffer from depression, you may find it difficult to cope during these festive seasons. The holiday atmosphere actually makes you feel more depressed and bad about yourself.

Here are 10 holiday blues only people with depression would understand.

1. You want to feel joyous like everyone else but you can’t.

You understand that the holidays are meant to be joyous and celebrated. You wish you could join in the fun, but you just can’t feel the holiday spirit. Your world is so bleak that you can’t see any hope for the future. The holidays are just like any other day of the year, only worse.

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2. You don’t wish to dampen the holiday spirit with your depression.

The holidays make you feel worse because you know that your friends are having fun but you don’t wish to be the one spoiling their fun. Even though you need support from your friends, you would rather be alone and not reach out to them. You don’t want to bring down their moods with your depression. You feel unworthy to celebrate with them.

3. You don’t want other people to know about your depression.

Depression is not something you want to talk about during the holidays. You are afraid that when you talk about it, you would suddenly cry in front of all your friends like what you usually do alone at night. Not only will it spoil the festive mood, but you will also feel ashamed crying in front of others, especially when it’s the holidays.

4.  You deny your own feelings for the holiday.

People expect you to be happy during the holidays. You don’t have the holiday feeling, but you pretend that you are enjoying yourself so that others don’t probe further. Feeling depressed is already bad enough. On top of that, you have to pretend that you are fine during the holidays. Not being able to be yourself and feel your emotions makes you feel even worse during this period.

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5. You would rather hide than catch up with your relatives.

You hate it when relatives ask you, “How are you doing?” You know this question is unavoidable. They haven’t seen you for a long time and want to catch up with your life. However, you feel like running away because you can’t answer this question honestly. Not only will you risk having a breakdown in front of them, but you also think they won’t understand and accept depression.

6. You want to avoid crowds, but people keep asking you out.

There are 365 days in a year. All of your friends seem to be free only during the holiday period. Everyone is asking you out for parties so that they can catch up with you and everybody else together. Honestly, you just want to be alone at home. Seeing crowds make you panic for no logical reason. You know you will feel worse after the parties. That said, in the end, you agree to turn up for a couple of them because you are so tired of rejecting your friends.

7. You dread gift exchange.

Getting the energy to cope with daily life is already a struggle to you. Having to buy gifts for others is asking too much of you. You don’t know what to buy for your friends. There are too many choices. What if they don’t like what you have bought? Everything seems so costly. There are so many things to worry about for gift exchange. You can’t see the joy in it.

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8. You have to spend more time alone to recover from the holiday parties.

Every party you go, it drains you and leaves you feeling more depressed. You need to make extra effort to socialize with others when all you want to do is sleep at home and not bother with anyone else. You know you don’t bring your best to the party and you leave others with a bad impression. After each party, you feel worse and blame yourself for accepting your friend’s invitation.

9. Your friends don’t understand why you could feel depressed amidst all this joy.

You tell your best friends how you feel, but they think that you are too negative and ask you to lighten up for the holidays instead. They think you’ll get better with all the celebrations around you. You used to believe that holidays like Christmas were magical. However, ever since you have depression, you feel like you are abnormal and everybody doesn’t understand you.

10. You are reminded how unhappy you are when see other people happy.

During the holiday seasons, you just want to turn everything off. Walking on the streets and seeing everyone else happy with their families makes you more depressed with the state you are in. You can’t read social media posts anymore because everyone except you seems to be in so much joy and happiness. You wish your depression would be over soon so that you can be like everyone else again.

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Featured photo credit: Rainy Christmas Grief Child Kid / PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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