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 at this time of year. Some have just been through a break-up. Others have lost a loved one or pet. And others are surrounded by people, but still feel lonely and blue.

Can you relate?

I have spent quite a few Christmases alone as a single mom. And especially in the earlier days of being single, I felt very lonely and 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 I was painfully aware that my family was thousands of kilometres away, and that I really wanted a special someone to join our family for Christmas (and no, I’m not meaning Santa Claus).

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. 😉
  • We may have memories of happier times, but our current reality just isn’t the same.
  • Drinking spiked eggnog by yourself once the kids are in bed may not be what you asked Santa for.
  • 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 (which sometimes, it just isn’t).

Moving through sadness and loneliness

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

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

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

3. Set an intention. Decide what you would prefer to feel and experience instead. Set the intention that this Christmas will be better.

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 what’s working instead of what’s not working, 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).

When we resist what is and focus on what we don’t want, it always feels awful. Instead, we must shift our focus to what we DO want, to the doors that are already open. And look for ways to create the feeling we said we wanted to feel in step 3 above.

For example, several years ago, I got tired of feeling blue at Christmas. I decided to make it more meaningful and fun by:

  • Creating some new special traditions with my kids
    • Baking cookies for friends and service providers.
    • Driving around town to see the holiday lights.
    • Embracing winter by going downhill skiing.
    • Skating on the Lac des Loups woodland trail.
    • Going sledding and having hot chocolate.
    • Playing board games Christmas Eve while wearing new PJs.
    • Reading our “gratitude jar” entries from the year before.
  • Hosting a hilarious “Ugly sweater, terrible gifts, horrible singing” party for my friends every year.
  • Inviting a few close friends into my home for Christmas dinner (creating the atmosphere of family and laughter I so desired, and helping others feel less lonely too).
  • Donating to local and overseas families who have far less than we do 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 and plan my next year.

Other ideas include:

  • Making crafts, baked goods or gifts and giving them to friends, strangers, and homeless people.
  • Travelling to a place you’ve always wanted to go to.
  • Attending holiday MeetUp events.
  • Helping out at a soup kitchen.
  • Doing random deeds of kindness for strangers.
  • Phoning friends you’ve lost touch with.
  • Thinking of people you know who may also be feeling lonely, and asking them to do something fun with you.
  • Having a Christmas movie marathon with a friend or family member.

I hope this sparks some ideas for you and helps you to create a more joyful holiday.

Wishing you lots of love, joy and peace this holiday season.

xo Karen

Resources for further learning

**************

Karen Strang AllenKaren Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. 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 www.karenstrangallen.com.


Responses

  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: https://theuncertainscribe.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/dark-side-of-christmas/

  2. […] Beating the holiday blues […]


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