Holidays are supposed to ignite happiness and feelings of warmth, but for many who are suffering from intense sadness, this time of the year is anything but.
For those of us who are coping with mental health issues, being bombarded with holiday posts that scream, “I am happier than thou”, can take a toll on your mental stability. Understandably, this can bring about intense pressure to be happy, which oftentimes pushes people away from genuine cheer and back into a corner of loneliness. But, let’s not fret, as there are many ways to stave off loneliness and increase self-care during this ‘cheerful’ season:
Understand That You Are Not Alone.
As strange as this may sound, you are not alone in feeling alone! Not that having more lonely people in the world should be appreciated, but just knowing that you are not the only person feeling this way helps! Survey reports show that around the holidays, more and more people report feelings of loneliness, while very few people can honestly say they feel happy and fulfilled during this time of year. There are people who desire to be with loved ones who have passed, or there are people longing for closer connections with their friends. Regardless of your situation, talking to someone who shares your feelings of loneliness can, in fact, help alleviate those emotions!
Generate and Express Gratitude.
The holiday season has certainly been ambushed by capitalist mentality. Nowadays, we expect gifts from loved ones and feel worse when we don’t get what we want. Therefore, it is truly rare when you take a moment to express gratitude for everything already in your life. Studies have shown that gratitude helps to fight feelings of sadness and depression.
Limit Your Expectations.
Thanks to social media and today’s “Instagram culture,” our expectations of the holiday season can oftentimes be misconstrued. We see endless photos and posts sharing happiness that makes it feel as though everyone around us is happy. This train of thought increases the pressure and expectations of the holiday season. That being said, combat these unrealistic standards unintentionally pushed down our throats by social media by setting realistic expectations. Wisdom always said having no expectations leads to a happy life.
Love is the central feeling that surrounds the holiday season. Netflix is stuffed with movies about finding magical romance, your friends are getting engaged, and families are together sharing all the love in the world. Without a doubt, seeing all this love may seem daunting if you are already suffering from loneliness. However, what social media and romantic movies seem to forget is that the holiday season is also a great time for some self-love! Be it in the form of a new gift from you to you, a stay-cation curated to your needs, or a day of feel-good movies and a walk, there are plenty of ways to practice self-love during the season! Best of all, self-love helps keep feelings of loneliness and sadness at bay.
So this season, if you feel alone, sad, or depressed remember you are loved, you are not alone, and reality is not on the screen!