It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for almost everyone. The holidays are supposed to be a time of love and holiday cheer, but for those dealing with difficult family dynamics, loss, or spending the holidays alone, this time of year can be a reminder of what’s missing in our lives and as isolating as it might feel, you are not alone. So, if you are struggling this season, there are ways to make your own memories and enjoy the holidays, even when things are less than ideal. Here are some ways to get through and enjoy the holidays even when you are feeling less than cheery:
Do Something Festive – If you love decorating, get a tree and decorate it or decorate around your home while listening to holiday music, watch your favorite holiday movies (mine is A Christmas Story) or childhood Christmas programs (A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer are my favorites) or host a small holiday gathering with your close friends. Don’t let your situation keep you from enjoying what you love about the holidays.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – This applies in real life and on social media especially during holidays. Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea, but it’s a lot harder to avoid when everyone is posting endless happy moments with their families on every social media platform. Scrolling through Instagram is a daily reminder of the fact that everyone else is cooking, baking, watching movies or enjoying general family holiday merriment. If you find yourself resentfully scrolling through social media, sign off for a few days and remember that: 1. No one has a perfect life and 2. Things can and will change.
Spend the Holidays with Friends – You may want to be alone during the holidays, but spending the holidays with friends is far better than spending them alone. Your friends are there for you when times are good, and they are there for you when time are not so great, such as the holidays. If a friend extends an invitation to spend Christmas at their home with their family, accept the invitation and go! You don’t need to bring a gift or a bottle of wine, just bring yourself and enjoy the day.
Give – Buy gifts for children in need, put together bags with winter essentials to hand out to the homeless where you live or sponsor a family for the holidays. If there isn’t any wiggle room in your holiday budget to help someone in need, you can help with a toy drive, volunteer at a soup kitchen or animal shelter.
Think of the Positive – You can’t let a few days change the way you look at your life, so use this time to reflect on the good in your life. Reflect on what you have accomplished this year and make a list of things you are hopeful for in the new year too. Your life may not feel perfect, but surely you can find a silver lining or two.
Know That It’s Okay to Be Sad – Whether you are spending the holidays among difficult family members or alone at home, just accept that this is where you are right now, and know that it’s okay to be sad. It often seems as if almost everyone on Instagram is living in a holiday movie of the week, but when your situation is less than ideal, it can feel extremely isolating. Let yourself feel those feelings of loss and sadness, and as difficult as it may be, try to let yourself enjoy the things you love most about this time of year.
Whatever you are dealing with this holiday season, remember you are not alone. There are more people struggling than you think, and I hope what I have listed above helps you get through the season with as little sadness as possible. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and until next year, stay happy, healthy and beautiful!!