How to Get Through the Holidays When Life Doesn't Seem So Merry

Many people are excited about this time of year.  Time for good food, visiting with family and friends, and maybe even a little shopping.  However the holidays can be a very difficult time for many.  The holidays come with traditions, lots of memories, and a time when we miss our loved ones the most. 

  • Is this the first holiday you are spending post divorce?

  • Is it your first holiday where you’re children are at your ex’s house?

  • Is this the first holiday since the passing of a loved one? Maybe it’s the 7th holiday of the passing of a loved one, and the holidays are still hard to get through. 

It is important for you to recognize the changes in the year and the feelings you are experiencing during the holidays.  While everyone else seems to be “merry and bright”, it’s important to know that it’s OK to take a step back and reflect on where you are. 

Woman alone and depressed during the holidays looks up at sparkling lights.

5 ways to help you through this holiday season:

  • If It’s Different, Make it Different-  If this is the first year you won’t be able to create your traditional holiday then mix it all up altogether.  If you will be alone without children for the holidays, think of fun activities to do to keep yourself busy.  Here are some fun ideas to mix up your holiday:

    • Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen so you are surrounded by people.

    • Always serve Turkey? Order Chinese Food and give your meal a little Kung Pao!

    • Say “Yes” to invitations.  Office Holiday Party- Say Yes.  Neighbor invites you for dinner- Say “Yes”.  You may surprise yourself at what a fun time you will have.

    • Go to a Movie

    • Support a Local Toys for Tots Drive

  • Honor The Person Who’s Passed - If this is your first holiday without a loved one then find a special way to honor them.  Take time with your family to share holiday stories about them, or even recreate their favorite dishes of the season.  Pretending you aren’t sad does not make the sadness go away.  Sharing your sadness and reaching out to others will help ease the pain.  Chances are you aren’t the only person missing them, and talking about it with someone may ease their pain too. 

  • Take a Trip - If you are always used to a holiday at home and pieces of your family may be missing, use this time to go explore somewhere new. Have you ever visited a winter wonderland? Visit Colorado, or New York.  Tired of the cold and gray? Pack your bags for Arizona or Florida! Visiting some place new may be just the change of scenery you need.

  • Host Military Personnel - Many times those serving in our military are not able to travel for the holidays.  Their leave is often so short that they cannot make it home and back in time to report for duty.  Contact your local Military Office and see if there are soldiers staying local who could use a place to visit and celebrate a holiday. 

  • Use this time to Process your Grief - A loss of any kind may result in sadness.  It is important to process your loss and acknowledge the feelings you have regarding your changes.  Here are some ideas on ways to process your grief:

    • Read - There are many books on Amazon, or at your local library on surviving the holidays after losing a loved one.

    • Write - Start a journal or write a letter to your lost loved one saying all the things you wish you could if you could see them one last time. 

    • Local Tree of Lights - Check with your local hospital if they celebrate with a tree of lights- a ceremony to honor those who have passed.

    • Contact Hope Therapy Center - The holidays may have brought to light how difficult things are right now.  Maybe you didn’t even realize you miss your ex spouse until now.  Working with a Therapist will help you identify your feelings and support you through this difficult time.

Whatever you choose to do this Holiday Season, we wish you Health and Happiness!

Photo by Krissara Lertnimanorladee on Unsplash