How to Experience the Holidays When the Holidays Aren’t Merry
The holidays have always been my favorite time of year, and that will be reflected in my home and office decorations and my mood. I know not everyone feels the same way about the holidays, whatever holidays you have familiarity with celebrating, and they have their own reasons for their attitudes and moods related to this time of year. Some have never had traditions or positive events to associate with the holiday time. Others have experienced a negative life event, whether it is a death, absence of family or friends, loneliness, or other stressors that life has thrown at them. A few years ago, I had a family crisis during the holidays, and I had some moments of concern, wondering if this event would change my attitude about the holidays. I chose not to let it change my attitude in a negative way.
We are mostly in charge of our own life course. As children, we have less power to make decisions and change negative circumstances. As adults, we have more options. Therapy is a great way to process the trauma and other stress we have experienced and learn how to be a survivor of our circumstances rather than stay stuck as a victim. By changing our thoughts about our past, present, and future, we can learn how to be more mindful about how we want to live our lives and experience them fully. It takes work, but it can be done when you are ready.
If the holidays trigger something in you that is undesirable, create new traditions or do things you enjoy, holiday-related or not. Most people have access to the internet or a library, so search for traditions related to the holiday you celebrate and be willing to try some out. If you don’t have anyone to share the traditions with, do them for yourself because you deserve it!
Loneliness is an emotion that many people find unbearable, and during the holidays, it seems to become amplified. What can you do if loneliness leads to depression or other uncomfortable emotions? Find a way to connect with others. Volunteering or giving of ourselves can create positive feelings and connects us with others. Reconnect with an old friend or family member, and maybe start out with a letter or text if a phone call is difficult. If your faith practice has fallen by the wayside and you have been thinking about rejoining, now would be a perfect time to reengage. Join a group or look for activities of interest in the community.
If you are blessed to have more than enough, whether it is money, talents, transportation, or health, can you find a way to give to those who don’t have as much? Take food to your homebound neighbor or invite others over for a meal if they will be alone for the holiday or any day. Make crafts or cards for residents of a nursing home. Donate time, money, or talents to a charity organization. Simply smiling at someone or offering to help a random person in the store reach something off a shelf can make a difference in someone’s day.
Take charge of the life you have and create the holiday season you want. It feels different when you experience life instead of pulling the covers over your head and wishing for the days to pass. Wishing you strength, joy, peace, and ar enewed sense of hope!Tags: Holiday Struggles, Loneliness during the holidays, Managing the holidays when they are tough
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Michelle Stoller has been working at Wholeness Healing Center since November 2015 and sees clients in the Grand Island and Kearney offices and also via Telehealth. Michelle believes in the importance of building trusting relationships with clients and understands the difficulties and stressors a person faces may occur due to any number of circumstances. It is never too late to make changes and create a more satisfying life.
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