If you’re feeling lonely this holiday season, you’re not alone in that. The holidays are hard for many people. Perhaps your loved ones have passed away, or perhaps they live abroad and you can’t afford a plane ticket to see them. It could be that you’re estranged from your family, and the holidays, with their emphasis on family togetherness, remind you of this. Whatever the source of your sadness, the holidays have a way of magnifying whatever ails us.
It can make you feel like a failure to be unhappy during the holidays. You may be the beneficiaries of a lot of unsolicited advice, like “Smile and enjoy the season!” But we’re here to tell you it’s okay not to be okay. Joy is a wonderful thing, but feeling sad does not make you a failure. With that in mind, here are some things to do when you feel sad over the holiday season. Some of these suggestions are designed to lift your mood, while others are lifelines you can rely on if things get too bleak to handle.
Whatever you do, take care of yourself! You’re important!
Donate to a good cause
One of the ways I deal with feelings of anxiety and hopelessness is by donating to charities that bring hope to others. Plenty of great foundations, including The Red Cross, even accept micro donations as low as $5, so you don’t have to be rich to make a holiday donation. If donating money isn’t your bag, you could also consider donating blood, which could literally give the gift of life to a person in need this holiday season. You matter! What you do makes a difference, in both big and small ways.
Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins lift your spirits. You could go to the gym, do yoga in your living room, or take a run in the crisp winter air. Not only does exercise make you feel better, working out will also give you a jump on all those New Year’s Resolutions. You can feel smug while enjoying a ten KM run while everyone else is sitting on the couch rewatching holiday films with their families. If you don’t have the energy to do anything intense, you could even take a leisurely nature walk, too. It’s always good to get moving…
Go to the Movies!
The best Oscar-baity movies come out at Christmas. While plenty of other people are stuck eating dinner with their families, you could enjoy a practically empty theatre when you scree Mary Poppins/Vice/Spiderman/Whatever Movie You Like. The world is your cinematic oyster!
Call a Helpline
If no matter what you do, you still feel depressed and lonely, please consider calling a helpline. In Canada, you can call or text Crisis Services for free. The US also has plenty of crisis and suicide prevention hotlines. A trained person who cares about you is never far away!