Beat the Holiday Blues!
As the holiday season rolls in, we are overwhelmed by the impression we’re all supposed to be leaping into a constant stream of parties, big happy family dinners, and heaps of presents. Well, it’s been my experience that some holidays are busy and exciting, but some they’re not. Some years they’re bittersweet and some years they’re incredibly difficult. Whether it’s financial strain, family issues, illness, loss, loneliness or something else altogether, the season can be rough and tough! SIGH THE HOLIDAY BLUES
If the upcoming holiday season is looking to be tricky to navigate, here are a few alternatives to feeling blue. They’re definitely more fun than sighing into your coffee mug or packet of snack every time a Christmas commercial comes on TV. Oh yeah, I’ve been there too.
Let’s explore some interesting options to beat the holiday blues :
- Have a Get Together
Some years it’s just not possible to be with family during the holidays and it doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Instead of spending the day moping in your home, have an impromptu group dinner, which can turn into a great night of conversations and playing board games. So, if you think you’re alone because you can’t go home, think again. See what co-workers, neighbours, or friends are up to, and you may be surprised. There could be a communal holiday dinner waiting to happen.
- Be Creative Make something.
During the holidays all commercials convince us that holiday happiness = buy me buy me please buy me. We all know that’s not true, but it can still be hard to show up to holiday functions empty handed. Sometimes money is short, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do/make something special. It’s a great time to become creative. I have a friend who makes stunningly yummy chocolates, wraps them up, and hands them out as gifts. It’s like getting a big box of specialised gourmet chocolates, but instead of spending a lot of money, she uses her time and skill. Don’t be afraid about tapping into your talents to make gifts. Maybe you’re a baker: offer to bake cakes. Maybe you’re a gifted artist or a photographer. Paint something, sew something, frame something, bake something, craft something, whatever you’re good at, make it and share it.
- Get in touch with your home.
If you’re have no reason to celebrate the holidays, use your creative energy and extra time off to fix up your place. That’s what I did during one holiday season. I was going through some heartbreak (always fun around the holidays), working most of the holidays, my dad was recovering from major surgery and there was nothing particularly eventful to mark the days. Tired of sulking around, I decided to repaint my room. I picked up a 5 litre of paint at a local store, painted late into the night while listening to holiday music and drinking happy juice. It turned out to be a deep evening of introspection and I woke up the next morning (with stiff used muscles) in a freshly painted room. To my surprise, it felt like a small victory for me (moving on up).
- Get excited about the New Year: Dream BIG!
Even if nothing is wrong, some holidays are just kind of lifeless and there isn’t much going on. Instead of feeling blue get excited about things to do and places to go in the coming New Year. Connect with forgotten dreams. Dream new dreams. Envision all the possibilities. Draft plans. Having a trip, project or goal on the horizon can make those dull New Year’s Eves less of a bummer.
- Gift of Giving
This holidays do something different. Volunteer for a charity over the holidays. Ask friends to join you. For so many, the holidays are incredibly difficult because their basic needs are not met, and this is where we can help. Plenty organizations or companies are looking for volunteers to help with clothes, food, toy drives or meal-related events around the holidays. Google local opportunities to volunteer your time.
- Be a chum.
It’s easy to fall into a bad mood when times are tough, but chances are there’s probably someone you know who is having an even rougher time. Take a look around and see who could use a hand. Maybe a friend just lost a job or is going through a break-up: take them out to dinner or for a drink. Volunteer to babysit for someone you know desperately needs a night out. Put some extra cash in the coffee shop tip jar. Wink at a handsome old man. Compliment someone. Smile at a crabby store cashier, Greet the cleaning crew at the office, you get the gist. Little gestures can make a big impact on another person’s day, and you can boost your own mood just by being thoughtful. It’s a phenomenon called helper’s high, and it refers to your body’s natural release of happy hormones.
- Take a hike, Mike
I mean that in the nicest way possible, as in, truly, take a hike! Really, is there anything better than a long walk to clear your head? For me, that means wandering through the city listening to my favourite music with no destination in mind. For you that could mean hiking a favourite trail while listening to the rhythm of nature, or a solitary walk along the beach or silently through the botanical gardens. For some just browsing quietly through their favourite department store can be soothing.
- Travel – Local is Lekker.
Solo leisure travel during the holidays. I love this idea! If you have some extra money but no real plans, why not use the time off to go somewhere new somewhere exotic? A Spontaneous spot! Adventure is always a grand idea, and isn’t there something completely charming about Safari Lodges during the holidays? It’s like extreme coziness with a twist.
- Re-connect with a phone call or over coffee.
It is holiday season, so why not use this time to truly reconnect with a forgotten friend? We may be “friends” with everyone we’ve ever known online, but there is no real connection. It’s cold and impersonal. It’s safe and void of real meaningful conversations. It definitely doesn’t compare with hearing someone’s voice or catching up as you awkwardly eat complicated Indian meal with your hands at Raj Indian restaurant.
Unplug from text messages, social media and email. It is a major presence in our lives and it’s primarily an incredible tool for communicating and connecting. During the holidays social media can create additional anxiety and stress. Comparing with the Jones can a very lively activity during the holiday season. Sometimes the last thing we need to be thinking about is what fancy restaurants our friends are at or how fortunate someone is because they’re having the perfect party. Sometimes it’s helpful to not know what everyone else is up to. Just be present and enjoy your occasion or function.
It is the season to be jovial. You can make it so despite any hardship you may currently be facing. And, hey, if all else fails, there’s always eggnog spiked with rum, brandy, or bourbon! 🙂
Jokes aside, how do you beat the holiday blues?
Please share in the comments section