For many people there is a lot of pressure during the holiday season, but we all know that even under the best circumstances, the holidays come with stress, some discomfort and the occasional unnecessary drama.
If you’re spending the holidays alone, it may feel like everyone around you is having the time of their lives, but do your best to remember that everyone is dealing with their own issues. At the end of the day, the holiday season shouldn’t be about hanging lights, presents or sitting with every member of your family around the fireplace. So, try not to fall into the mindset that holidays should look a certain way.
Every other year the Boy, my son, spends his winter break from school with his father. And every other year I find myself feeling a little down. This feeling is pretty common for co-parenting, single people or people experiencing separation from their loved ones. There are a lot of expectations in Western society surrounding the holidays but they are not mandatory for anyone. If you’re not thrilled to spend the holidays alone, here are my suggestions for finding joy this season.
- Make plans. Remember that you are in control of making your own memories, so make some plans. Don’t wait for someone else to invite you. If you want to attend a holiday party, make plans with friends you haven’t seen in a while, host your own festive gathering, or just make time for yourself. Filling your calendar is not an excuse to be busy or to ignore your feelings this season.
- Connect with others. You may be used to gathering with loved ones in person, but there are still some people not comfortable attending large gatherings. Don’t let that stop you from connecting with those people during the holidays or throughout the year. Schedule video chats with the family; pick up the phone or text someone to let them know you’re thinking of them. Think about taking this time opportunity to force yourself to put yourself out there, form new relationships and have fun.
- Treat yourself. Establish new traditions that are special for you. Go gift shopping for yourself, book a massage or splurge on your favorite treat for yourself. It is okay to you’re looking forward to solitude! You deserve it, so relax and enjoy.
If you are not in the mood to get up and go, then don’t. There is nothing wrong with sitting on your couch wrapped in a cozy blanket. Setting high expectations for yourself may just make you feel exhausted, lonelier, and anxious around the goals you have failed to accomplish. Give yourself permission to spend the entire season relaxing, recharging, and doing whatever gives you joy.