Since the holiday season is fast approaching, I want to offer this message to everyone out there about the importance of being kind. Not everyone comes from a happy family, or has wonderful plans for the holidays. For some, the holidays are a sad reminder of their aloneness, and everything that has gone wrong in their lives.
When we don't have family to spend our holidays with, for whatever reason, it can be sad and disheartening. We see everyone else happy with their perfect families, and it hurts inside not to have that.
For a long time, that was me. I don't get along well with most of my family, and suffer with family estrangement. After years of living with an emotionally abusive family, I spent a lot of holidays alone sitting on my couch eating crackers and spray cheese while everyone else was celebrating.
YouGov data shows that one in nine Americans (11%) spent the December holidays by themselves and one in six spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day alone (16%).
If you know someone who is spending the holidays alone, don't be afraid to reach out and invite them to your holiday, or send a card, a gift, or a pie. It might really serve to raise their spirits this holiday season.
In general, just be sure that you are being as kind as possible to everyone that you come in contact with, because you don't know who may be struggling this holiday season.
Many people suffer from seasonal depression, and don't ever let on to anyone on the outside of their lives.
If you struggle during this time of the year, it is also important to practice self-care, so that you don't get burned out with everything that needs to be done. Make sure to protect your energy against all the hustle and bustle going on around you.
Even if this is a difficult time for you, you can take some time out to do something special for yourself, or spoil yourself with a nice gift, a trip to the movies, or a special meal.
If you feel up to it, you can take this time to give back to your community through volunteering at a local shelter or other charity. This can help you find some holiday spirit and a sense of community as well. You could also adopt a family through project Angel Tree, or another charity so that you can participate in the spirit of giving.
This may feel too difficult to do, and that is ok. If all you do is survive through the holiday season and make it to January, that is enough! Don't beat yourself up for not getting into the holiday spirit if it doesn't make you happy. I was unhappy at the holidays too for more years than I can count.
You don't have to feel guilty for being unhappy. Not everyone can be happy all the time.
If feelings of unhappiness are really bothering you, or you do have seasonal or holiday depression, speaking with a therapist or life coach can really help. If you aren't already seeing a therapist, here are some tips to find one. You can also always reach out to a local crisis hotline 24/7 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.
I hope that you all have a blessed holiday season, and be sure to be gentle with yourself if you are feeling down. Even if this is a bad time of the year for you, there are things to look forward to in the new year. I hope that you are able to reach out for help and find some healing!