Holiday Blues

Posted by on Dec 1, 2003 in Success!Ezine For You



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2003


It’s the time of year when many people suffer holiday blues. While friends and family are upbeat and looking forward to the season, you feel glum and annoyed that it’s here. There can be many reasons for this, but a central problem often is that you don’t feel that you’re as far along in your life as you should be and this causes you to feel disconnected from all the merriment around you. Different issues can account for this. Which one describes why your spirits are down?

  • Success Still Eludes Me

In spite of working very hard, you feel you haven’t gotten far. This breeds a lot of resentment and bitterness that the merit system — which insists, “just work hard and you will be rewarded” — doesn’t seem to be panning out for you. Indeed, some who don’t seem to work nearly as hard but who are good wheelers and dealers may be whizzing past you. This adds to your pessimism and feelings of “why bother?” But take heart. You’re not alone. Many folks are working longer and harder than they used to, have fewer staff and perks, and feel stymied in their careers too.

  • Is This All There Is?

Even if you’re one of the luckier ones who is moving ahead, you can still find yourself bothered by a nagging sense of unhappiness and melancholy this time of the year. All the symbols around you set an expectation for joy and merriment, but you may not feel that the new promotion you received and your new station in life is all it was hyped up to be. Perhaps it’s not as glamorous. Maybe the perquisites are not as plentiful or rewarding as you anticipated they’d be. Sometimes your sadness is coming from the stark realization that employers or customers pay you the “big bucks” because they expect to get that amount — and more — back from you. Sure, you may have the freedom to take time off when you want to and can do more of what you please. Unfortunately, like most at the top, you find that you simply don’t have the luxury of doing so because there’s too much work to do!

  • Where Do I Go From Here?

Some people are pleased with the progress they’ve made professionally and continue to enjoy the benefits of their position, but feel discontent at this time of year because they are reviewing where they are in life and feel the need to move on. While the job may hold your interest and provide gratification, you may be a person who needs new challenges and don’t feel content unless you’re confronting unknown horizons. This is in contrast to people who are great managers and enjoy making sure that things keep running smoothly. These are the folks who are content to remain in the same job for 20 years. Others need to make their mark in uncharted territory in order to feel fulfilled. Once that job is done and things become routine, they feel the need to go. You may be one of those people. If so, it’s time to figure out where you’re going from here.

The end of the year provokes self-reflection and this can bring to light areas of discontent and unhappiness. But, it’s possible to shake the holiday blues. Figure out why you’re feeling discontent and then take action to do something about it.

  • Update Your Success Plan

Take advantage of the holidays to schedule some time off and update your Success Plan. This will help you to end the year with a better understanding of what you need to do to advance your career in the future. Where had you hoped to be at this point? How far off the mark are you? You have to be able to see the end point or else you have little chance of getting there.

Now let’s be very clear about this.

You must be able to visualize where you’re headed in a concrete manner. What’s the job called? In what kind of settings is it located? What are its requirements? How have others gotten into these positions? And then – most importantly – exactly what have you done to qualify and position yourself for this career move or business opportunity? Often people suffer frustration because they only have a vague idea about what they’re trying to get into and, even more often, have done very little to strengthen their marketability and access to these opportunities.

  • Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Take Action

When you’re feeling glum you don’t feel like doing very much. Though you’re unhappy, you’re in a familiar rut or comfort zone and can find a lot of excuses for not moving out of it. But that’s exactly what you have to do. Dig deep for your inner strength, take a big breath, and get about the business of targeting where you’re headed next so that you can build the necessary skills and contacts you need to get there. This may mean shifting into a new field or relocating. It may require making major changes in your life but you must follow the opportunities. They’re not going to chase you down.

If you come to the realization that your malaise is stemming from the inevitable routine and loss of glitz that occurs once the newness of anything wears off, then you have to adjust your expectations and attitude. There is great benefit in being one of those individuals who keep things running smoothly and who learn how to master routine on behalf of their company or business. This is a critical role and one to be quite proud of. On the other hand, if you are concluding that you’re a person who is only stimulated and gratified by new and unfamiliar challenges and territory, then pry yourself out of your comfort zone, set your sights on a new target, and get moving!


About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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