It’s no secret that the holidays aren’t a time of delight and wonder for everyone. Many people struggle to get through them. For people dealing with a loss from death or divorce, a serious illness or loss of a job, the season can be bittersweet, if not downright depressing.
If this is similar to what you’re feeling at the moment, I’d like to send a warm e-hug to you and say ‘It’s gonna get better‘.
Here are some strategies on how to cope with the holidays if you’re not feeling cheerful:
Change it up.
If you’ve had a loss in the past year, consider doing the holidays in a completely different way this year: Travel, celebrate at someone else’s house, go out to eat with friends. It’s a natural tendency to isolate yourself when you feel down, but it can make you feel worse.
Write yourself a letter.
This is an act of self-compassion, or treating yourself as kindly as you would treat someone else in your situation. Several studies have shown that writing yourself a caring, supportive letter about the issue you are struggling with significantly increases happiness, improves mood and facilitates coping with negative emotions.
Focus on others.
One of the easiest ways to get out of your own head is to help someone else. Volunteer. Do some charity work or something for the less privileged. There are so many people around who would love a small gift or a little bit of your time.
Do something awesome.
Go on an adventure, stare at the ocean, go to a theater performance, visit an art museum, watch a nice movie… Do something you don’t often do and make yourself feel good.
As the holidays approach, I wish you the very best of the season!