Although it’s considered “The most wonderful time of year”, there are many people that struggle throughout the holidays. Here are just a few reasons why:
Past negative experiences that occurred during the holidays and now their mind associates this time of year with that trauma.
Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) also known as seasonal depression. Due to the shorter and darker days in autumn and winter, there can be a change in mood and energy.
Cultural or religious differences
Those without families
Those that can’t afford to celebrate as much as they’d like
Regardless of your reason for having a difficult time during the holidays, you are probably just trying to focus on making it to the New Year. I actually used to be highly affected in a negative way by the holidays and would spend the season in a self-imposed cocoon that was sad and lonely. I have picked up a few strategies over the years to help see me through and perhaps they can help you, too!
Go ahead and acknowledge that the holidays can be tough for you. Once you accept that, you can then begin to focus on ways to make it through the weeks ahead. Pretending that it doesn’t bother you could potentially lead to more stress, frustration, and hurt.
Are the holidays difficult for you because of past trauma? What are your triggers? How can you begin to heal (therapy, spiritual work, journaling,etc) so that future holidays are so hurtful?
Is it tough because of S.A.D? What options can you use to help (light therapy, counseling, vitamins or other medications, etc.)?
One of the biggest things you can do to help make the holidays more bearable is to communicate your experience with your village. If they don’t know you’re dealing with something, then they can’t support you and your needs.
Need a break from Christmas music? Tell your partner that in the car, you need to listen to something else.
Can’t afford lavish gifts? Let the people in your life know! For example, “Hey, y’all. My budget is a bit tight this year so instead of gifts, I’ll be sending cards instead”. Or suggest a Secret Santa event so that instead of having to purchase multiple gifts, you just have to get one.
Now that you have acknowledged and communicated your needs about your difficulties surrounding the holidays, it’s time for you to take control over the things you can.
Are you affected by the decorations, people, and music in stores? Then find alternatives (online shopping, drive up and pick up services, etc) to keep you out of the building.
Is the never ending loop of Christmas movies driving you up the wall? (A Christmas Story, I’m looking at you) Then pull up your favorite streaming service and watch all the horror, action, and sci fi movies that you want instead.
Here's the thing: you cannot control others and how they celebrate the season, BUT you can make decisions to help ease your way through. Take care of your mind, body, and soul. Do things that bring you joy and try to treat yourself.
I hope that these tips are helpful for you. Know that you aren’t alone. I love you and you are WORTHY!