Posted by: silverliningsblog | December 16, 2016

Beating the holiday blues

16-12-16-winter-blues-girlLet’s face it – the holiday season is not all candy canes and multi-coloured lights for everyone.

Many people struggle with feelings of loneliness and even despair. Some have just been through a break-up. Others have lost a loved one. And still others are surrounded by people, but still feel lonely and blue.

Can you relate?

I know I have spent quite a few Christmases as a single mom, feeling sad that I had no one to celebrate with. I did have my kids, and focused my energy as much as possible on them…but my family was thousands of miles away and I really wanted a special someone to spend Christmas with.

Why so blue?

Why does this time of year, in particular, trigger so much angst?

It’s really a combination of factors:

  • Media images and pictures tell us we “should” be having a good time.
  • We have expectations of an idyllic family celebration, but … let’s face it, drunk Uncle Albert and grouchy Aunt Mable may not meet those expectations. 😉 And drinking eggnog by yourself once the kids are in bed may not be what you asked Santa for.
  • We may have memories of happier times, but our current reality just isn’t the same.
  • The holiday season can be exhausting, with so much to do in a short period of time.
  • The days are shorter and there’s less sunlight, triggering Seasonal Affective Disorder in many.
  • It’s the end of the year, and a natural time to reflect on whether our life is the way we want it.

Moving through sadness and loneliness

16-12-16-winter-blues-snowflakesSo what can you do if you’re struggling with feelings of sadness an loneliness?

1. Feel your feelings. Begin by acknowledging how you’re feeling, and not resisting it. Sit with the feeling, and notice where it shows up in your body. Give yourself permission to not feel happy.

2. Ask why. Consider why you feel this why – what previous memories are being triggered, and what is not meeting your expectations.

3. Set an intention. Decide what you would prefer to feel and experience instead.

4. Shift your perspective. Consider how you can look at things differently. A good exercise is to write down everything you feel grateful for in your life. (Even if things aren’t perfect, there are likely many good things going on, and when you start focusing on them, you’ll naturally start to feel better.)

5. Take action. Decide what you want to do now to improve the situation and help yourself feel better.

For more specifics on how to move through your feelings, please see Dealing with unruly emotions.

Feeling peace and joy

16-12-16-winter-blues-xmas-ballsSo what will help you feel better this holiday season?

Often, the reason we feel awful is because we’re focusing on a closed door. We’re noticing that we can’t get what we want from a certain source (e.g. not from the partner who left, the parent who died, the job that is no more, the child who is with our ex).

Instead, we must shift our focus to the doors that are open. There are many ways we can feel what we said we wanted to feel in step 3 above.

For example, a few years back, I got tired of feeling blue at Christmas. I decided to make it as good as I could, by:

  • Creating some new special traditions with my kids (driving around to see the holiday lights, skating on the Rink of Dreams downtown, going sledding and having hot chocolate).
  • Hosting a hilarious “Ugly sweater, terrible gifts, horrible singing party” for my friends.
  • Inviting a few close friends into my home for Christmas dinner (creating the atmosphere of family and laughter I so desired, and acknowledging that others were feeling lonely too).
  • Donating to local and overseas families who have far less than me at Christmas.
  • Taking a day off by myself on New Year’s Day, and going to the Nordic spa near my home to relax in hot tubs and saunas.

Other people have told me they’ve done these things:

  • Traveled to a place they’ve always wanted to go to.
  • Attended holiday MeetUp events.
  • Helped out at a soup kitchen.
  • Done random deeds of kindness for strangers.
  • Phoned friends they had lost touch

I hope this sparks some ideas for you. You may also want to consider checking out this Holiday Heartbreak Survival Kit that some friends and I put together (coordinated by my awesome friend Jessica Tomlinson), to help you get through those holiday blues.

I hope some of these ideas help you to create a more joyful holiday. Wishing you great love, joy and peace this holiday season.

xo Karen

Resources for further learning


Karen Strang AllenKaren Strang Allen is an empowerment coach for single women and mother of two. She is also the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about themselves, turn their heartbreak into the best thing that ever happened to them, and create a life they love, so they become a magnet for their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources at


  1. This is very true and useful, thank you. I’ve written along similar lines, so may I put a link to this after my post:

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