With Christmas music on every station and all stores flooded with decorations, it’s hard to miss the fact that the holidays are officially here.
The holiday season can be a wonderful time for some people and the darkest time for others.
This is the first Christmas we will be celebrating without my Grandma, and having no little kids, it feels hard to be motivated to get in the holiday cheer with everyone.
But- we deserve to rejoice in the holidays and feel warmth & cheer on these cold days.
I want to talk about the hard part of the holidays and how to survive it better than ever. From crowds, difficult family, loss, and depression- I have tips for you all.
Feel free to read the whole post or scroll and look for the section you’re struggling with the most.
If you are struggling with depression and having suicidal thoughts, PLEASE CALL: 1-800-273-8255 RIGHT NOW. The world needs you, you are loved, and this time will pass.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Surviving Crowds
- Surviving The Holidays After Loss
- Surviving The Holidays With A Difficult Family
- Surviving The Holidays With Depression
- Surviving The Holidays Alone
- Surviving The Holidays During Financial Hardship
I figured we would talk about the easiest struggle first- but something we ALL have to work to keep our sanity with.
The holiday crowds.
Oh my gosh, I try to practice kindness and holiday cheer but these insane crowds make me CRAZY. It’s during the holidays I am extra grateful for online shopping and Amazon Prime.
But you can’t get everything online and will more than likely have to face the crowds. (Plus I have an out of control Rae Dunn obsession and find myself in crowds more often than not.)
During this time is when being strong and true to your character is SO IMPORTANT. I know, BELIEVE ME- I KNOW-crowds, people not paying attention, and the total anarchy the holidays will test every ounce of patience you have. But let’s use this time to strengthen our patience and practice kindness and compassion even when we struggle to feel it.
When you are out in crowds this year remember a few things:
-The person rushing through the store almost bumping into you, or walking quickly by, could be a parent who is working overtime during the holidays to be able to afford gifts for their family. They could have worked a long day, still have to get presents, and rush home to try to see their family before they are in bed.
-The person that snapped at the cashier or someone in the store, could be going through the first holiday season alone or after a loss. Not everyone handles grief in the same way and them lashing out could be a result of pain and sorrow.
-Remember everyone is fighting a battle we have no idea about. Offer a kind smile, bring a shopping cart from the parking lot into the store, hold the door open for someone, let someone with fewer items cut in front of you in line, or get the item on the shelf for someone who can’t reach. All the love you put out there will return to you.
SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS AFTER LOSS
I just want to say before I begin- I feel your pain. This is the first holiday season without my Grandma and I had no idea it would be this hard.
It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to be weak. But you don’t deserve to not enjoy your holiday season because of your pain and grief. Harness those emotions and turn them into positive energy.
What I’ve realized is she is closer to me than ever before. I want to live my life to the fullest for her and because I know she is right there with me. Through me, and through you, our loved ones will live on.
-Volunteer or donate in the honor of your passed loved one
-Continue a tradition you both did together and reminisce in the good memories.
-Knowing they are with you, do everything you would want them to see. Walk the Christmas lights, watch those movies, and celebrate with a holiday feast.
-Love those around you 10 times harder. Be grateful for the loved ones you do have in your life and go out of your way to make them feel loved and appreciated
I don’t believe time heals the wounds of loss, but it does teach you how to control your grief and cope.
They would never want you grief ridden and would want nothing more than for you to be happy. Honor their memory and have the best holiday season you possibly can. They won’t be far away and will be enjoying every second with you.
SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS WITH A DIFFICULT FAMILY
It’s hard to be excited about the holidays when it means seeing your family you do not get along with. Again, I know that feeling.
But we don’t have to let these people ruin the season for us. Those days are in the past and we are going to be jolly and cheerful like everyone else damn it.
The most important thing to remember is that you already know who your family is. They probably haven’t changed much since the last time you saw each other and you more than likely know what to expect.
Prepare yourself with daily affirmations and positive thoughts going into the gatherings.
Life is so short, don’t let holidays go to waste with fights and arguments. If you say your family never changes, then YOU be the one to set the example and work on change.
Don’t fight back when your mom bates you about your relationship status. Don’t sit next to the cousin you have never gotten along with. Leave the room or walk outside when tensions start to rise. Leave when appropriate and before any problems arise.
If you are estranged from your family and celebrating the holidays alone, please scroll down below.
I love my family for exactly who they are
My family teaches me important lessons on how to handle difficult people
I am so grateful for this holiday season
I am grateful to have a family to celebrate with
I feel confident we will have a great family gathering
SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS WITH DEPRESSION
Everyone is smiling, blaring Christmas music, and talking about their vacation plans yet you can’t seem to share their enthusiasm or excitement.
Many people do not understand depression, let alone depression during the holidays. They think it is naturally everyone’s favorite part of the year but it couldn’t be more opposite. Holiday or winter depression is very real and something we all should be aware of.
This is why KINDNESS is SO important no matter how stressed, rushed, or busy you are.
If you are feeling stronger and determined to have the best holiday season yet, I totally believe in you.
You deserve to be happy. You are loved. You deserve all the love, kindness, and prosperity in the world.
If you are ready to make a change, then the first and biggest step you can do is be the person you needed.
Give back to something bigger than yourself. You will be reminded of how much good you have to offer to this world and how you do make a difference. Even if you impact just ONE person’s life- you will have started to change the world.
Ways to give back:
-Volunteer at homeless shelters and soup kitchens
-collect donations and presents for orphaned kids or the homeless.
-Pay it forward
-Offer to run someone’s errands for them
-Sweep the leaves in your neighborhood
-Babysit for family friends for free
-go to a movie with your grandparents
-volunteer at the animal shelter
There are HUNDREDS of ways to give back this holiday season. Harness the good light and energy in you and use it to touch the lives of others. No matter how you feel about yourself, take the attention off of you and focus on helping others. You will start to see the smiles and joy you bring total strangers and be reminded why the world needs you to just keep swimming.
SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS ALONE
I am so sorry you are feeling alone during the holidays. If you need someone to talk to, feel free to shoot me an email or DM on Instagram.
Just because you are alone, whether it be because of an estranged family, living in a different town, or after a loss- you do not have to struggle this holiday season.
This can be your best holiday season yet because you are on YOUR time and getting to spend time with the best person you know, yourself. Use this season to love and discover who you are.
Buy yourself the gift you deserve. Binge watch holiday movies from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s and discover your new favorite movie! Bake all kinds of cookies and share with those you work with. Build a gingerbread house you’re so proud of you display it on your counter all season long. Pick out the perfect Christmas tree and decorate it exactly how you wish.
Or, TAKE A TRIP! If you can’t go with friends, then you are lucky enough to travel alone. Oh my gosh- think of all the amazing adventures you will have! If you don’t want to travel alone then look for missions or volunteer work in other countries.
The best way to spend the holidays is by giving back. Whether it’s giving back to yourself or others use this time alone to fill your cup full and use the time to impact the life of yourself and others.
SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS DURING FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS
Parties, hostess gifts, holiday cards, 15 different secret Santa’s/white elephants, family to buy gifts for, holiday dinners, the list of things to buy goes on for days.
It’s kinda crazy as soon as November hits every last penny we have goes towards the holiday season.
If you are going through financial hardships DON’T WORRY! You can still have an incredible holiday season and not have to disclose private financial matters.
-Get with your family as soon as possible and talk about instead of gifts this year- to give back to others. Either all chip in to donate to a cause or spend Christmas morning volunteering instead of opening gifts.
-Send e-cards. With technology advancing so much there are hundreds of sites you can send e-cards through for either free or a small cost for a membership. Make it a fun video like jib-jab or a beautiful video card from Hallmark. Whatever it may be, skip the cost of expensive family portraits and holiday cards. Send them an e-card they’ll remember above anyone else. (Plus your friends and family will probably be grateful to not receive another family portrait or card they have to keep til the holiday ends).
-Hand make gifts. The dollar store is an incredible place for crafts or upcycling. Go to town on Pinterest and get your creativity on. If you would like to make a gift this holiday season, I highly suggest the ‘My Love For You Is So Big’ project. You can learn all about it here.
-Bake at home! Whether you grab a box of cake mix or make it from scratch- it is much cheaper than buying an expensive holiday cake or dessert. People will appreciate the effort you put in more than just stopping by a restaurant or store and picking it up.
-Gift services you offer to friends, family, or white elephants. Offer to babysit for a month, clean their car, do all your co-workers shredding, etc. Be creative it can be fun and silly yet meaningful. Coupons are easy and cheap to make and will be a gift that is easy to cater towards anyone. I can promise you they will be so excited they get it!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope everyone has an incredible holiday season.
Stay tuned in the next upcoming months, we have some serious changes and exciting news heading your way!