It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Not necessarily. The winter months can be a time of Christmas cheer, loving family gatherings, and delicious food, but they can unfortunately also be a very lonely, painful time for some people. Grief, trauma, and tragedy are all parts of the human experience that can be exacerbated in the winter, especially when so many people around us seem cheerful. Here are some strategies to hope if your holidays aren’t particularly jolly:
Change Up Your Routine
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, so if you’re experiencing the holiday blues, why not shake things up a bit? Maybe it’s time you tried out a new hobby or recipe. Or instead of surfing Facebook first thing in the morning, try getting up out of bed and reading a book. Sometimes we need a fresh perspective or tradition to help us find some hope in difficult times.
Give Service To Others
One of the best ways to help shake off some gloom is to push pause on our own worries for a bit and to get outside ourselves to help someone else. This is not meant to dismiss or minimize personal suffering, but to offer a perspective that even when things are hard, we still have many blessings, especially compared to others. Look for opportunities in your community or church group to give service. Help raise funds or food for families who are struggling financially. Find someone who’s lonely and offer your friendship. Using our time and talents to help uplift others, who can then uplift our own spirits as well.
Get Out of Town (Literally!)
A change of scenery can do you good! If your pain is linked to your family of origin, it’s okay to take a break from the plans and do your own thing. Setting a boundary might even mean seeking out a new location for the holidays. Maybe you visit a friend in a different state, or maybe you plan a weekend trip away so you can recharge and refresh.
Seek Out Connections With Others
When we’re experiencing sadness, it’s so easy to withdraw and keep to ourselves, but in order to lighten our load and to find some hope again, it’s crucial that we reach out to others for connection. It’s likely that you’re not the only one who is hurting, so don’t be afraid to make contact with other people in your circle to make that human connection we all need.