The holidays are here. I am starting to see the lights, hear the Christmas music, and people are already out shopping. And while I’m super excited and anxious for the holidays, I can’t help but think of all the people who dread the holidays because of the sadness it tends to bring about.
When people think of the holiday season, they usually think of happy times, gifts, family, food, and lots of love. That is what the holiday season represents for a lot of people. This is also what society portrays the holidays to be.
But there are lots of people who deal with feelings of depression, loneliness, and anxiety during these times. These are the times, in which, your Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with happy family pics and people celebrating. This can be emotionally draining for a lot of people. Especially those who are dealing with a loss of a loved one or someone who doesn’t have much family or friends.
You are constantly reminded that you don’t have a partner to kiss under the mistletoe. Your mom is not here to decorate the tree with. You don’t have kids to wake up and watch open presents. That can be a lot to digest. And its even harder because this is such a happy moment for everyone else. Therefore, you are forced to mask your feelings of sadness.
Your social media is also filled with people showing all the gifts they’ve given and received. This can cause a case of the holiday blues for some, as well. Because it brings about the constant comparison of their “perfect” lives compared to your “mediocre” life. This can tend to make one feel inadequate and lead to sadness and depression.
If you find yourself dealing with feelings of depression and the case of the holiday blues, here are a few tips you can take to help overcome:
UNPLUG. It’s inevitable. There will be lots of posts on all social media showcasing the happiness of the holidays. If you know that this can be a trigger of sadness for you, disconnect. Take Facebook and Instagram off your phone for a couple of days or limit yourself to 20 minutes a day to connect on social media. Don’t torture yourself by scrolling through your timeline, watching everyone live out their happy times if it represents something you are missing.
TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF. During this time, there are a lot of social events happening with family, friends, and at work. Don’t feel like you have to attend everything if it will be too overwhelming. But it is healthy to do some engaging. Even if that means staying for an hour at a Christmas dinner or inviting a few friends over for egg nog and girl talk. You don’t want to spend the entire season alone because that can bring about more feelings of depression.
TAKE A TRIP. This is a perfect time to take in a new city. You can go to a place where no one knows you and go to different events, restaurants, bars and make it a point to meet new people. This can be a fun pastime that will help distract you from your sad thoughts.
VOLUNTEER. Nothing makes you feel better than making a difference in another’s life. Feeding the homeless, donating toys to children in need, giving out coats to people living in the cold are all ways that you can give back during the holidays. This also helps to put your sadness into perspective. Things could always be worse so it helps to find happiness in your life.
JUST BE. Honor your feelings. It is okay to be happy. It is okay to be sad. At times, you will go through various combinations of both. After a loss, it is normal to feel guilty when having happy moments. Remember that it is unhealthy to live in total sadness and it is okay to laugh and smile. It is also okay to cry and weep. It’s okay to just be and deal with all emotions as they come.
And to those who love the holidays and find it to be a joyous season, spread love to others. You never know who is dealing with the holiday blues and your cheer and love can make someone’s day. This is a great time to practice one act of kindness daily. Make it a practice to make someone smile.