Oh How I Hate the Holidays! How To Handle the Holidays When You’re Not Feeling the “Cheer”
Every year I post a version of this classic piece on advicesisters.com. The reason is that I personally dislike the Winter holidays. Although the media floods my brain (and probably yours, as well) with visions of glamorous holiday parties and family gatherings full of beautifully behaved families that simply adore each other (no crying babies, cranky kids, or disappointing presents), the reality is that it’s cold, dark, the long commute to “grandma’s house is exhausting and wears on that last nerve. There are plenty of reasons to feel totally stressed and depressed. For those who don’t have extra income or maybe even a job, for those without family, or who are stuck far away from loved ones, for those who have suffered great loses, the holidays can make you feel anything but “merry & bright.” I do know a few people for whom Christmas is truly the “best time of the year.” They prepare for it, for months and nothing dampens their holiday spirit. But I do think they are unusual. If you really don’t love hearing Christmas songs from Halloween to New Years Eve and if you aren’t feeling the holiday spirit or if you feel like you’re the only one without fabulous plans, this article is for you!
The holidays tend to bring up a lot of emotions, some good, some not so great. I’m making this a “sticky” post for the rest of December. Every time I read this, I get a reality check myself. So If you are feeling less than happy about something…read on and perhaps this will put things in perspective for you, too! If it helps you, please do someone a favor and re-tweet it, share it on Facebook, etc.
If You Are Alone: Every year, people get called away on business, find themselves stuck at an airport, or just don’t have the funds to travel closer to family and friends. There are last-minute break-ups, and family fights. Consider the situation of shut-ins who aren’t able to get out , and others who feel so down they won’t make the effort. If you’re solo and not feeling so good about it, you have plenty of company! However, being solo on any holiday, doesn’t mean you need to be lonely or sad. Here are some ways to make yourself feel better during the holiday if you are alone (and even if you aren’t).
Create A Happy Environment: Happy things to look at really do a lot to make you feel good. If you like holiday decorations, put them up, even if it is “just you.” Play holiday music on your iPod while you’re power walking or working out at the gym (exercise is a great way to feel great). If your office allows for it, add some seasonal touches to your desk. Hang your holiday cards on a string where you can see the, — you can’t help but feel appreciated when you see all those cards! People have been thinking of you, even if they aren’t currently nearby. If you’re really hot into “holiday” buy a new plant or some colorful flowers, or a scented candle, to brighten up your space.
Party In Your Own Place: If you’re alone on the actual holiday, all the more reason to host a party in your own place before everyone leaves for Christmas, New Years, etc. Take plenty of photos and put them on your computer or phone. Look at them if you’re feeling a bit lonely and realize that the holidays are just a small part of the year. You’ll be united with friends and family again!
Celebrate Loved Ones Gone: Good memories are the way we keep loved ones who have passed on, alive. If you start to feel sad that someone you love has passed on and won’t be with you this holiday season, quickly switch the sadness to a happy thought about them. They don’t want you to cry and be sad, they want you to remember all the things that you know are so wonderful about them, and the fun times you had. Try substituting glad for sad memories. You won’t be able to help but smile. Your loved ones will live forever, as long as you remember them in happy memories!
Make Something: One sure way to put your mind at ease is to keep it busy with something fun and interesting. If you are at home, cook something! The smell of fresh bread or cookies, or a holiday cake, or fragrant soup will pass the time and give you something delicious to enjoy. If cooking isn’t your thing, stock up on foods you enjoy. You don’t have to eat Turkey or a Roast just because “Mom” always made it. If you feel like vegetable curry or chicken noodle soup…go for it! If you are away from home, try working on a puzzle or knitting, or anything that takes hours to complete. The day will pass much more quickly.
Meet To Eat: Everyone has to eat, sometime. So make holiday meals a social occasion. Consider joining or hosting an ‘eating & meeting” party where everyone who is alone brings someone else to lunch, brunch, or dinner. You will all know at least one person and you’ll meet new people. This is a fun way to get together every week or month as well as at the holidays. Even if the idea of “singles events” make your knees weak, consider a singles-only event at holiday time. You don’t even have to be looking for a romantic partner to share in the holiday spirit with others who want to share the day with others. These events offer companionship, conversation, and (if you are seeking romance), you just find a new love. If nothing else, everyone there is in the same boat…and grateful for your company.
Plan Ahead: Whatever you do, don’t leave plans for the last minute and then wonder what you’re going to do to make the time fly by. Definite plans ahead of time are comforting and empowering. If you don’t want to get out (or you can’t get out), be sure to pre-arrange calls with family and friends..it will give you (and them) something to look forward to. At the very least, pick up movies that inspire you or make you laugh. “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Sleepless in Seattle” are my personal, pick-me-up, holiday favorites.
Connect: Computers and smart phones keep you constantly connected, so call, text, tweet, Facebook or email. And, there’s always the opportunity to make get on “the net.” No matter where you are in the world, people are online and looking to connect, especially on the holidays. Be Smart & Safe: not everyone is “nice” on the net. Lonely or emotionally upset people are especially vulnerable to predators online, and you can’t know if the strangers on the other side of your computer screen are who they say they are. NEVER reveal personal information or intimate feelings.
Get Advice: Promise yourself that next year things will be different. If you feel “stuck” and want 2012 to be better, I can personally help you to reach your goals.
A FINAL BIT OF WISDOM: If you get sad or upset, remember that each day is just 24 hours long — and then it’s over! Sad thoughts feel like they’re here forever, but actually, they are fleeting. For most people simply substituting a bad thought for a happy is an effective way to banish the blues. But if you have a very serious or potentially life-threatening problem, please don’t wait: Call a local hot line or visit a local crisis center in your area. To find help immediately, do an online search (e.g. “crisis hotline”) or check the phone book. I want your new year to start out well, and end, even better!