Few things in life are as cut-and-dry as they seem. Take the holidays for instance. For many people they're the most wonderful time of year, filled with parties, family togetherness, and the joys of both giving and receiving. For others, however, the season is not so jolly. This is especially true for those suffering from the loss of a loved one. So in this post we'll suggest ways to cope when the last thing you want to do is make merry.
Allow Yourself to Feel Sad Human nature compels us to follow the crowd whenever possible. This is true for many reasons, chief among them being the ever-present need to survive. Only in Hollywood films does the lone wolf prevail against overwhelming odds. The rest of us must rely on each other for our basic needs. So, when society tells us it's time to be happy, most of us go along (or at least pretend to). Otherwise we might hear these comments directed towards us:
"What is your problem?"
"You know what they say: misery loves company!"
"Thank heavens I don't live with her. What a grump!"
The sad irony is that remarks like these run counter to the holiday spirit others expect you to feel. But your challenge isn't to judge them for being human. It's to remind yourself that it's okay to feel grumpy or despondent in November and December. Anyone who says otherwise has no idea what it's like to be you.
Set Realistic Expectations The holidays can test our ability to separate fantasy from reality, according to US News. This goes back to our prior example about Hollywood. How often does an angry old miser transform into a joyous do-gooder overnight? It's safe to say that such events are somewhat rare. But we still love to watch it happen to Ebenezer Scrooge every time Christmas rolls around.
There's nothing wrong with believing in miracles, of course. But we set ourselves up for trouble when we expect miraculous events on an annual basis. So temper your seasonal expectations with a dose of real-world-clarity.
Get Some Fresh Air A change of scenery can do wonders for a weary soul, according to HuffPost. So consider getting out of town for the holidays, if time and money permit. Even an overnight trip to someplace new can drive away the blues and refresh your spirits. Many travel destinations offer unbelievable discounts during the off season. The stark, serene beauty of a wintertime beach or snow-capped mountain vista may have just what you need at this time in your life.
Enjoy Some Simple Pleasures Consider for a moment why modern people have fireplaces in their homes. Is it because they need wood heat to survive? No. Rather, it's for the relaxing effect of watching yellow flames leap and dance while logs crackle and glow a cheery shade of orange. What better way to soothe your troubled mind than by curling up next to your hearth and letting a fire bathe you in its gentle warmth? You can draw similar solace from other down-to-earth activities, like sipping a mug of hot cocoa or petting a beloved animal companion. Indulge in some of these soul-restoring pastimes in the near future and you'll find yourself a better person for the effort.
In the end, this time of year is what you make of it, good or bad. Allowing yourself to mourn, tempering your expectations, changing the scenery, and enjoying a few basic pleasures are all ways to stay sane during the holiday madness. So show yourself some well-deserved compassion in the days and weeks ahead. It's the best gift you can receive during trying times, even from yourself.