The Holidays Are Hard

It seems like every year advertisers and our social media newsfeeds inundate us all with images of perfect family holidays, exciting engagements, and fun vacations.  

Reality is very different for most of us. 

With my job, I rarely get to spend holidays with the people I love. I spend them sitting alone in hotel rooms, eating takeout (if I'm lucky) and FaceTiming with the folks back home, which often makes me even MORE homesick. 
Over the past few years I've spent Thanksgivings and Christmases waiting for the phone to ring, alone in strange cities, and wracked with heartache. 

No matter your job, holidays can be fraught with hard emotions. 

Financial crisis. 
A devastating health diagnosis. 
Family discord.

At this time of year it somehow feels like there's more pressure than ever to be living a perfect life, free of heartbreak, conflict, or hard times.

We're "supposed" to be full of holiday cheer and joy but often it can be incredibly difficult to feel the tingle of magic through the sadness of our real-life burdens. 

So for those of you struggling this holiday season, honestly, I'm right there with ya. 

Here are a few of my tips for coping:

1. Remember that a lot of people are having a harder season of life than you are. 
Yes, this is tough, but take a few moments to consider how it could be worse. 
I try to remember that even though I can't be with my family this time, at least I have all of them still and I can see them next week. 

2. Consider how people celebrated holidays historically.
You have indoor plumbing to use on Thanksgiving? Not too shabby. 
You aren't battling bears on your homestead in the wilderness? Good. 

3. Do routine things you would do on any other day.
Get your cup of coffee. Read your book. 
Remember tiny things that you like to do on a normal day, and do those things. 

4. Lower your expectations. 
WHY do we think that a holiday should be a day full of flawless and majestic happiness? 
They're just days, and we're just humans. 

5. Find tiny ways to celebrate for yourself. 
Last Christmas I was alone in Las Vegas for 30 hours. I made my own tiny celebration by doing things I love- eating delicious food and going to a Christmas Eve service at the local Unitarian Universalist church. I was friendly, so I made new friends. I like to sing, so I sang carols. 
It was a little lonely, but I also kind of loved it. 

No comments