With all of the joy, love, wonder, and excitement that Christmas brings the "professional" Santa; it can, for some, bring a bit of sadness, anxiety, and overall depression too. Now, many might think, "What!? How can Santa be depressed...it's Christmas!" but it truly can happen and it's good to inventory those feelings and problem solve what an appropriate solution might be.
Now, I'm not an experienced therapist nor do I hold a Phd. in any medical field but I did want to share some of my thoughts, experiences, observations, and get some things down on paper for my own benefit.
We have seen on Clausnet the occasional discussion on what has been coined, the "Christmas Blues" or the immediate lull right after the busy season and the feelings experienced at this time. For me, personally, I had not experienced these post season feelings. I believe I was spared because life for me seems to run at full speed regardless, and I love to plan and start working on new Christmas projects in January. I have, interestingly enough, experienced PRE season blues from time to time.
Why on earth would anyone have the blues BEFORE the season!? I must be pretty crazy...but a quick search found that I was not alone in the least. For me, there is so much planning, so much to do, there is just...SO MUCH! With the work on a Santa show this year, I have also found a financial drain with no guarantee to recoup any of that money, it's worth the risk because I love it. This has all been stressful though. Also, with a bleached beard, I continue to panic at every fallen hair, "WILL MY BEARD SURVIVE!?" "WILL IT ALL FALL OUT!?" "WHAT ABOUT ALL OF MY CLIENTS!?" "WHAT IF I GET SICK!?" "WHAT IF IT'S NOT WHITE!?" etc. There certainly is a lot that one can stress over, IF YOU CHOOSE, and many I'm sure, can relate.
I think that one can actually plan too much, focus so much on the details, that there has not been a chance to breath, to rest, or just a quick relax. This is where I'm trying to find balance this year. Not going at 150% ALL of the time...I cannot afford to burn out, and I certainly cannot afford to drop dead of a heart attack. This balance and "relax time" is something I am truly making an effort to make time for...it is SO important. My friends, make that time for you and your loved ones.
I've tried to put together a few things I have found and hope that it will help you before, during, and after the season. As I tend to tell my wife who constantly goes at 200%, "You cannot give others what you don't have to give." This goes along with what we are doing too. Keep your inner wells filled my friends, and you can continue to give to others. Let that well run dry, and you will have nothing to offer.
Here we go:
1. Keep your expectations balanced. We all have the perfect Christmas and the perfect season in our minds, it's okay if you don't quite reach that...set your goals and move towards them and you will be a better Santa. If we don't all have our seasons looking like a Norman Rockwell painting...that's okay too, this gives you something to shoot for next year! It's not all in our control and perfection, is a pretty hard thing to achieve...I never have.
2. Don't try to do too much. I look at my schedule this season and I want to slap myself. I would get off the phone with a panicked and desperate individuals pleading for me to fit them into my schedule..."Sure, I guess I can manage to fit that party in the afternoon before my morning and evening event." WHAT!?? My friends, scheduling and taking on too many tasks can dampen the spirits. Learn to say no, delegate where possible and manage your time wisely. If you choose to do less you will have more energy to enjoy the most important part of the season - friends and family, and making a difference! No amount of money is worth your life.
3. Don't isolate. We sure do go from extremes. We can be the center of attention and life of the party and some Santas, might find themselves going home to a quiet home. If you're feeling left out, then get out of the house and find some way to join in. There are hundreds of places you can go to hear music, enjoy the sights or help those less fortunate...not as Santa...but as YOU!
4. Don't overspend. I have long sense had an issue with some of the "professional Santas" ...to me, it seems that some Santas do not see themselves as being a successful Santa unless they have something to sell the rest of us Santas, their events were not enough, their market was not big enough...let's sell TO the Santas! We do NOT all need to make something to sell, sometimes it just looks like a few are just trying too hard. We do not need to buy everything that sparkles before our eyes, (although, Eileen's Buckles look amazing!) Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Remember it's not about the "stuff", it's about what's in your heart.
5. It's appropriate to mourn if you're separated from or have lost loved ones. If you can't be with those you love make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together. My children are young, but I could see at some point, traveling off to some far off land to portray Santa...at this point, I am home with my family. Connect with your loved ones or schedule to do so. You'd be surprised how much a phone call, or even a journal entry or card can help.
6. Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad weather. Using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day can lessen this type of depression called SAD (seasonal effectiveness disorder). We can't all be like Santa Marty, wearing Santa shorts to visit the beach! You'd be surprised how much this can help.
7. Watch your diet and remember to exercise. When it comes to dieting...I'm your Santa! You can watch what I do...and just do the opposite! Ho, Ho, Ho! t's normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods effect your mood. If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down. It can be very helpful to take a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal. We need to keep that metabolism up! Just think of all of those children (germ containers).
8. Be aware of the Post Holiday Syndrome. When all the hustle and bustle suddenly stops and you have to get back to the daily grind it can be a real let down. Ease out of all the fun by planning a rest day toward the end of the season. My family does sacrifice so that I can do quite a bit in portraying Santa and attending my events. After the holidays there is always the announcement of a family vacation. Somewhere fun, to celebrate and spend time together.
9. You are NOT Santa. Oh man, did that hurt? Let me say it again, You are NOT Santa. Wait, what? Oh you changed your name to Santa Claus...okay, then...uh...hmmmm...YOU are still NOT SANTA. I will not say that being the center of attention isn't fun or isn't even addicting to some...but you must be very careful with this. Coming to expect this, or even seeking it when there is no need is just asking for issues to pop up when the season is over. Now, perhaps you dress as Santa year round, this is a marketing choice for you...just remember, there is someone else inside. Give yourself opportunities to relax, and NOT be at the center of everything...take a moment NOT to dress in red.
10. Learn forgiveness and acceptance. If some of your relatives, friends, or even fellow Santas have acted out or made you feel bad, chances are that won't change. If you know what you're getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons. We teach people how to treat us and we teach ourselves how to react to others. You are far better off being like that amazing duck, letting the water just run down your back...of course, the guys at Duck Dynasty just blew it to smithereens, but you get the idea my friends! Ho, Ho, Ho!
I wish you the very best of seasons my Clausnet family. YOU are amazing, and YOU have the potential to do so much good, to change lives for the better, and truly make a difference. I encourage you all to review the Oath, reflect on your own Christmas memories and favorite times, for you believers...remember the reason for the season, it is THAT love that you share with those that need it. Be active. While the season brings a hectic schedule for many of us, take a few moments here and there to visit us and share your adventures.