The holidays are just around the corner – it might even feel like the season is well underway. Everywhere you go, Christmas music is playing, the store shelves are full of glittery décor, and when you scroll through TV channel guide, endless made-for-TV Christmas movies fill the screen. No matter how hard you may try, it seems impossible to escape the merriment.
If you are the type of person that tends to shy away from holiday gatherings and has a difficult time with all of the holiday cheer, you are not alone. While all signs point to “gather and be joyful,” it is OK if your mood is more “Frosty the Snowman” than “Merry and Bright.”
Here are some tips for taking care of yourself during the wintry days if holidays aren’t the most wonderful time of the year:
Allow yourself to stay at home: If the holidays with your family are difficult, allow yourself to skip family gatherings. There is no rule that you must attend EVERY family event, especially if the events are challenging for you. Taking care of yourself is important, and you deserve alone time. Send a note, a hostess gift, or merely FaceTime your family during the event instead of attending. While the event is happening, grab a blanket and a watch a funny movie or read a great book. Remind yourself that you deserve this time.
Create your own holiday playlist: Since many stations (even on satellite radio!) play holiday music and related ads, create your own playlist with your favorite songs and play that whenever you are in the car, on a walk, sitting in your office, or shopping. Try searching Spotify or iTunes for popular playlists.
Connect with others: The holiday season is a great time to reach out and connect with others, whether it’s a new acquaintance or an old friend. If reaching out to someone you have not spoken to in a while sounds intimidating, think about joining an online support group or chat. It may be different than you think. Just reading posts from someone feeling the same way that you do can be comforting. Have you heard of The Mighty? It is filled with people that post positive thoughts, questions, ideas, and pictures on all sorts of topics. If you are dealing with depression, anxiety, loneliness, or any type of illness or condition, there are probably others that feel the way you do.
Give back: Many people find that giving time or money to others is a meaningful way to feel less lonely, especially during the holidays. Helping others can fill your heart with gratitude for what you actually do have. Search online for a list of organizations that need volunteers or donations. Any amount of time or money is always welcome.
Start a new hobby: Use this time to start a new hobby. There are so many activities you can discover that can nurture your creative side. Interested in crafting? You can learn how to do almost anything on YouTube and can find inexpensive supplies at a local store. Some ideas include knitting, drawing, coloring, or origami. If you want to be more active, try running, yoga, pilates, or hiking. The possibilities are endless.
Whatever you do during this holiday season, know that however you are feeling, Sheppard Pratt Health System is there to help you. You can always reach out to us and find support at https://www.sheppardpratt.org/