How to Get Through a Challenging Holiday Season
DanceswithPeeps The Burner v2.1 offered what can be everyone's mantra this time of year: "You are not required to meet other people's expectations," and its corollary, "you have to consider which bridges you are willing to burn." Everything that follows falls under that umbrella: in order to take care of yourself, you have to put your own needs and desires first.
Untitled1 echoed that sentiment:
My advice would be, if you're really not feeling the
Christmasspirit, but you're planning to engage out of a sense of obligation, you don't have to. Sometimes it's good to force yourself to be around others, but sometimes it's OK to withdraw into your shell for a little while. Don't let anyone guilt you into taking part if you know the mentally healthy thing for you is to keep to yourself.
Several of you recommended traveling during the holidays, to make this time of year special in your own way, and to get out of a rut. Fiddler on the Hot Tin Roof said
No husband, no kids, and my family is awful, so I don't ever feel like I belong anywhere at Christmas. I started traveling at Christmas and it was the best decision I ever made. If I'm gonna be lonely at Christmas, at least I'm gonna be lonely at Christmas in Dublin or Madrid or Paris, where I can get out, take a walk, sightsee, and get the hell over it because I'm somewhere amazing, instead of crying in my empty (except for me and my cat) bed at home.
Prependix found that traveling made a great solo holiday tradition:
The second holiday season after I got my first real job, I made it a point to leave home and take a trip somewhere, however short or long. I traveled to another country for a week or so that year and did the same thing the following year. In the past couple of years I've just kept it local and go camping. Just forcing myself to get out of town does wonders in minimizing the emotional holiday slump I go through around this time.
And GGxGG found that planning even a local holiday trip gave them something great to look forward to:
I planned something I really enjoyed doing for the New Year's Day holiday (a hike in a beautiful place), then made a paper ring chain so that I could tear off a ring every day until we got to Jan. 1. Watching the chain get shorter each day reminded me that no matter how shitty each day was, I was at least making progress towards putting the holidays behind me and doing something fun to kick off the new year.
If you can't be where you want to be for the holidays, there are always ways to give your mind a bit of an escape. ThereIsNoFluffy goes for "Lots and lots of weed and half a dozen new novels." CommonVices recommends "Four shots of RumChata, one shot of Fireball. Mix. Drink. Repeat."
Recognizing that things suck when they suck can also feel better than trying to force cheer. Take it from BurntFootGumbo :
Wine. My kiddo is in the hospital for week #2 and it looks like Xmas will be spent there. The tree, which we were putting up when she had an episode) is still right where we left it. Though I've been home before going to the hospital each night (walk the dog, etc), I haven't touched the decorations.
When I get home and get ready for bed, its 2 glasses of wine.
The perfect end to a shit year.
And remember that if things are really bad, you can get help. If you need it, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-8255. Be well.