Photo By Annie Spratt
Ah, December. For many, it is a joyous time when the air is crisp and cool and the days are as bright as the lights on the Christmas tree. Usually Christmas is a time when everyone just seems a little kinder, a little cheerier, a little merrier. However, this does not hold true for everyone.
Sometimes, even in what is supposed to be the merriest of times, life can throw cruel twists. Maybe you suffer from seasonal depression. Maybe you are going through a very difficult time in your life, such as the loss of a friend. Maybe you are like me and going through both. No matter what the situation, it is ok not to feel holly jolly all the time during the holiday season. However, I would like to provide a small list of things that help me through the hard stuff, and hopefully bring some holiday cheer to your December.
- Recognize it is OK to not be Ok, even During the Holidays
I feel as if we may have created a culture where anyone who is not Buddy the elf-esque all the time during the holidays is automatically labeled as a Scrooge. You are absolutely under no obligation to be jolly all the time, for anything or anyone. Life can really hurt, and the hurt sometimes does not take a break for the holidays. Be easy on yourself. To the friends and families of those hurting, please do not accuse them of not having the holiday spirit. Remember we are all walking different roads.
- Seek Counseling or Other Forms of Help for the Winter Months
Please do not be afraid to seek out help during the hard times, because everyone needs a little help every now and then. Winter can be a hard time for many people due to the lack of daylight hours. For some people, the resulting depression that can happen is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a real issue for many people, but can be treated! Talk to your doctor about taking Vitamin D supplements, or consider light therapy. UK even provides free light therapy in the Counseling Center! If you are experiencing the difficult loss of a friend or a family member, please do not be afraid to seek out someone to talk to and confide in. Needing to talk to someone in the form of grief counseling does not mean you are weak, it means you are a normal human being experiencing grief in your own way. Remember the happy memories, and know that your loved one is always close by this holiday season in your heart.
- Try to Surround Yourself with Holiday Cheer
In your own time and without pushing yourself, try to surround yourself with the positivity of the holidays. Often just surrounding yourself with the warmth of the holidays can lighten the mood and bring a little joy during the hard times. I know that sometimes things cannot be fixed with Hallmark movies and hot chocolate, but I am a firm believer that healing happens in the little victories. Spend time in the comfort of family members. Reminisce on holidays past. Laugh at National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with your girls wearing your warmest pair of holiday pajamas. Do not push yourself, but allow yourself to enjoy this season in spite of the difficulties.
So while life may be painfully imperfect sometimes, there is still joy to be found this Christmas season. Enjoy your holidays and may it be a time of healing and cheer.