Holidays are the perfect time to sit by the fireplace, sip on some hot cocoa, spend time with your loved ones and family and enjoy a good dinner!
But..what happens when so many people are unable to see their families and loved ones? For many people, this time of the year can be a painful reminder of the things we don’t have or the people we can’t be with, causing stress, loneliness and depression. Those feelings get worse and worse as societal expectations ‘’dictate’’ what holidays should be like. Family dinners, spending money on shopping, buying gifts and so much more! Problem is, the reality can be entirely different, COVID-19 or no COVID-19.
So, what can we do then? What can we do to battle thοse feelings and take care of ourselves?
- First of all, be aware of signs of holiday depression. You might feel withdrawn, disconnected from people you enjoyed spending time with, or activities you liked might not seem fulfilling anymore. You might also experience poor appetite, difficulty concentrating, fatigue or irritability.
- Practice self-care! Taking care of ourselves, is one of the most beneficial ways to alleviate the feelings of stress, loneliness, and depression. Focus on doing something you enjoy. Cozy up with a warm blanket and your favourite ‘’feel good’’ book, listen to your favourite album or even take up a new hobby! I have recently started to knit which has been a great way to keep my body and mind calm and relaxed.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can be described as the practiced of paying attention in the present moment, regulating your attention by monitoring your emotions, body states and thoughts. According to research, mindfulness can help to reduce stress, can benefit your memory and quality of sleep. Focus on breathing exercises and meditation. Youtube offers you a variety of soothing videos to help you unwind and meditate.
- Avoid spending a lot of time on social media or try not to use them at all. Scrolling through social media can be entertaining but unfortunately, it is one of the leading causes of anxiety and loneliness. By observing someone else’s ‘’perfectly’’ depicted life, you might end up seeing your life as inadequate and eventually worsening your emotional state.
- Don’t hesitate to reach out! Find someone you feel comfortable with and express the way you feel. Talking to others can also help them understand you better but also find a way to help you and be there with you. In addition to that, bottling up our feelings can only have negative effects since it can increase feelings of depression and stress.
- Connect with your family and loved ones. Online or in person, there’s still many things you can do that can help you get through the holidays! If you cannot spend time with your loved ones, organize a group call or a video call to hang out with them! Watch a movie or even play a board game!
- Volunteer. A simple action of volunteering can reach so many people! Lend a hand to elderly neighbours, donate blood, donate clothes or food. Think of a cause that is important to you and be a part of it. Generosity is a natural way for people to feel good about themselves and the importance of the service they offer! Besides, being part of a team can offer you a chance to get to know others with the same interests!
- Acknowledge your feelings, as difficult as it might be. Loneliness can come as a sudden, painful, feeling even when we are surrounded by other people and we have all been there. Truth is, New Year’s Eve can be scary. It forces us to cogitate our existence, our actions, and experiences. The thought of another year ending and another one beginning can be intimidating and always a daunting realization…and that’s okay. It is a difficult moment, sometimes we have to let go of people we have lost, opportunities that passed us by or even a part of ourselves. The trick is not to let ourselves get lost in those feelings. Letting go only helps to become stronger, go further and grow wiser. Numbing our pain and sadness only makes us insensible to life’s pleasures and joys.
Lastly, and most importantly, treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Spend your time in a way that can bring you joy, surround yourself with elements you love and people who are there to support you.