We’re lead to believe that the holidays for everyone are a happy time. A time to be with loved ones and celebrate. A time for laughter and smiles that everyone has. I mean it’s hard to believe that the holidays aren’t a happy time with all the commercials and depictions of families around tables laughing and smiling the day away. But that’s not always the case.
For many people the holidays are the hardest time of the year. When missing loved ones we have lost comes a bit more apparent. When being around what feels like endless amounts of people causes anxiety. When close-minded family members cause home to no longer feel safe. And even more situations that can make the holidays difficult. So for those of you reading this that dread the holidays (just like me) know that it’s okay. Your feelings are valid and you don’t have to explain to anyone why you left the festivities early.
For me, the holidays bring anxiety and the overwhelming feeling of not being good enough. I’m the child that fell off the track a bit, is studying art and creative writing, and is perusing an internship across the country that no one seems to understand how it will fit into my career goals. I always get bombarded with the typical, “oh so what are your future plans?” questions and when I answer with “I’ll be travelling and writing after my internship.” I get even more questions and blank stares. Not only do I feel uncomfortable in my own home and family during the holidays, they also give me anxiety.
I enjoy being alone. I love my alone time just as much as I enjoy being around people I care for. But the holidays makes it seem like I have to engage 24/7 which in turn makes my heart rate increase and anxiety attacks ensue. In the past, I was always yelled at for leaving the holiday dinner and festivities early to retreat back into the comfort of my own room.
So for me the holidays are a mix of happy and anxiety with a bit of seasonal depression sprinkled in there. The darker it gets the sadder Lauren is. But for me, I’ve tried to come up with some things that make the holiday’s a bit easier when life isn’t so happy:
- Never Apologize- If you need to take time for yourself or leave the holiday party early because you are overwhelmed. Do not apologize. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
- Find a Safe Place- If home just isn’t safe anymore for you find a safe place with friends to spend your holidays. Or just find a safe place alone for the holidays if that’s what you need. Figure out what you need personally and go from there.
- Be Sad- It’s okay to take time to be sad about something, anything. If the holidays are hard because of a recent loss of a loved one don’t ignore those feelings take time to grieve and be sad. Just because the holidays claim to be a happy time doesn’t mean you have to be smiling and laughing the entire month.
- Talk to others- It may seem like the loneliness time during the holiday season but know that others share similar feelings and it’s okay to talk about your feelings with others. Find someone who understands or can just sit and listen to you for awhile.
- Use online resources- There are a ton of online resources for you to use during the holiday season. From the crisis text line to To Write Love On Her Arms use the fast and easy resources you can find online to help you through the hardest parts of the holiday season.
Remember that if you feel alone or sad during the holiday season, you are not alone and everything you are feeling is valid. And if you know someone who struggles during this time lend a helping hand, a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on because we need the support just as much as we need alone time.
Resources for Help
*If you have other resources please comment them to help others find help*