Three Ways To Cope With The Absence Of Family During The Holiday Season
Many of us think of family, fun, and food when it comes to the holidays. For others, without family, the fun never begins. This time of year is tough for them and can bring on depression. This time of year is a stark reminder that you are alone or missing key family members that made the holidays memorable. That is not to say these memories are ignored for the rest of the year. They are just magnified now.
In the latter part of the year, most jobs give people time off to spend with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time off is extended in most cases spanning at least three or four days. That time off with no one to spend with and no work to occupy their thoughts leads to a lot of free time. An idle mind brings forth nothing but ideas, good or bad. When we sit idle, we think of everything, and for someone who has suffered a recent loss, this time can be excruciating.
Depression does not have a look or template we can look at to classify it. Everyone deals with it differently. All you and I can do is be there for those we may feel need it. True, they may not need the extra effort to be there for them, but they may enjoy it. Death hits us the hardest at the funeral, around their birthday, and during the holidays. The constant reminders that you should be with your parents or family through countless Instagram scrolls of your friends doing just that. The Internet can trigger the depression to begin or magnify the level it already was.
If someone calls you, don’t be too busy to talk to them during this critical season. That person may truly need you to listen to them. That simple conversation can make someone’s day. Try calling them yourself to see how they’re doing. Be there for your family and friends the best you can today because you can not change yesterday, and tomorrow will take care of itself.
Here are three ways to help you cope with the absence of family and friends during the holiday season.
Create alternate plans
Have a backup plan for the holidays just in case the invites from family and friends does not come through. It is no need for you to be upset or sadden because someone else forgot about you. It may not have been intentional, but since you are sitting around with nothing to do, you will take the slight very personal. Having other options or alternate plans will keep you from resenting anyone who may have forgotten to send you that invite. Shoot they may not have wanted to invite you to begin with, so why not do your own thing — no need to beg someone when you can prepare a meal on your own.
If you don’t feel like cooking, take yourself out to dinner, and treat yourself. People have this misconception that a solo dinner date or a trip to the movies is for losers. That can not be any further from the truth. Self-care is right for you and necessary. Many people miss out on great vacations because they do not want to go alone. A solo vacation can be what is needed to get new experiences in your life as well as new people. Not saying you will meet your new best friend on your trip, but you can meet someone on the plane that shares a common interest as you. You two can hit it off well and exchange information. You never know what can change for you if you don’t go because everyone else canceled.
The later part of the yea is a tough time for those absent of family and friends. Be proactive with your own time and make yourself a priority. Do not wait for anyone to be there for you to make your plans. Confirm that flight, make that reservation for one, get out of the house, and do you. You will be surprised how much fun you can have alone.
Keep yourself thoroughly engaged in some form of activity. Do not allow yourself to sit idle. Stay occupied with one of your hobbies. If you do not have a hobby, find one. Take the time to get to know yourself so that you already know what you like to do in your spare time and which hobbies you love.
Do some volunteer work to help others, seeing their troubles may remind you that you are not alone. Also, seeing that their issues are worse may tell you that yours are not that big of a deal in the more significant scope of things. Helping the less fortunate not only gives you something to do but as you help them, they help you as well. It becomes therapeutic to some, and yes, it does not alleviate your issues, but it helps someone else in need who may need your smile more than you know.
Be creative and date yourself. Take yourself on that fancy date that you wish for or the movie you would love to see if someone would go with you. Waiting around for everyone else is a sure-fire way to ruin your mood. No one will take care of you like you, and no one knows what you want to eat more than yourself. So don’t be sad waiting for that text to come through asking if you’re going to come over for holiday dinner, take yourself out to your favorite restaurant and feast like a pig, alone.
Some of our loneliness comes from us not reaching out and expecting the other person to do the calling. Humble yourself and make an effort to be close to those you love. People cannot read minds and may not even know that you want to be bothered. Make the phone call and say hello, rekindle the relationship, or catch up like old times. Make the trip to see your loved ones or send them an email if you don’t feel like talking at the time. Whatever you do, do not throw yourself a pity party, especially when you made no effort or attempt to reach out. You may be alone because you don’t know how to treat people, or you think every issue is about you. Other folks have problems too, remember that. Being kind and genuine makes people want you around, give it a try.