Breaking the Holiday Haze
It’s that time of year again! Trees decorated with garland and lights. Family ornaments being dusted off. Manger scenes being carefully arranged. Christmas is nearly upon us! This season of Advent is a unique one: It’s a time of hope, where we look to a world of possibilities. For many of us though, it can be a time of struggle, a time of depression over the holidays. Often, the holidays bring on feelings of loneliness, or of longing for Christmases long ago filled with happy memories. It’s easy to get lost looking for the romance, the joy, and the happiness that the season often evokes.
As we enter into the holiday season, that feeling of loneliness can often lead to depression and anxiety. It doesn’t help that the days are getting shorter and, for many, seasonal affective disorder is a real struggle. Not many get through life without dealing with a down time, but especially during the holiday season, it can be a perfect storm. You may have trouble sleeping or find you’re sleeping too much. With the pandemic, it’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected. It may be a frightening prospect to have to deal with the season alone. You don’t have to do it alone though. There are a number of strategies to help get through these times.
A Time for New Traditions
One way to break out of a rut is to start something new. There’s no reason to wait for the new year; why not get started now? Take up a new hobby; get yourself out of the house; do something new. It might mean finally signing up for those salsa dance lessons; It might be that you finally take up snorkeling. It can even be as simple as going to the beach at lunchtime every day and taking in the sun and fresh air. Whatever it is, starting a new routine is a great way to break out from your ‘normal’.
Similarly, the holiday season is often about engaging in traditions, and that can be incredibly difficult if you’ve lost a loved one, feel alone, or are struggling to find a place for yourself. There are loads of holiday activities that you can jump into though. You might consider going to a parish Advent retreat and getting to know those in your community that share your values. If you love classic films, find a cinema that’s showing It’s A Wonderful Life. A friend of mine even enjoys going to Hanukkah on Ice, replete with a flaming ice menorah! Whatever your faith, there are options.
Embrace the Meaning of the Season
No matter the case, one other way to cope with the season is often introspection. Advent is the season of hope, after all. It can be a time of reflection where we give thanks for the many blessings in our life. In our Thanksgiving post, we highlighted some ways to practice mindful gratitude. To extend from that, take the next few weeks to reflect on our goals. Where do you want to be at this time next year? What might you do to help you get there?
Be hopeful. The Christmas season is also a time where we can reflect on God’s love for us. Think about it: He loved us so much that he became human. Just like we recommended practicing gratitude, we can also practice charity, or love. It might mean letting go of past grudges and practicing forgiveness, or it could also be as simple as opening the door for strangers. Maybe as a part of those new traditions above, you can volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter. Not only can you meet like minded people who share your commitment to love, but you can also share and spread love to others. Sometimes that can also be as simple as making Christmas cookies for your neighbors or bringing over potato latkes to your local assisted living facility. No matter how we do it, sharing our time and our love with others goes a long way. Not only can it fill us with the joy of the season, but it also helps us to share that joy with others.
These are just some strategies and methods you might try this holiday season. It may be difficult to get over past pains. Often it can be a struggle to break out of your shell and try something new. Whatever the case may be, if you’re struggling, feeling alone, or need help overcoming your anxieties, we are here for you.
If you’re looking for guidance and direction, give our office a call today. One of our specially trained staff will be more than happy to help.