When the holidays just aren’t really your thing.

I can hardly believe that we have 6 golden days until Christmas. Even for those who don’t participate in Christmas, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. Businesses are busy, traffic is heavy, everywhere and everyone has limited hours due to the holiday season. Gift buying, Christmas parties, excessive sweets and alcohol tend to put new stress on our bodies, even if we don’t notice it. But most people perceive this stress as excitement, and the holidays bring them and their family a new year of memories and joy to share together.

But not everyone enjoys the holidays. In fact, some people really, really dislike them. For some people it’s a reminder of another hard milestone to get through without a loved one they’ve lost. Maybe this is their first Christmas being single in a long time and it feels particularly lonely. Maybe it’s that annual stress around buying things for their kids that they can’t afford, and feeling the pressure to keep up with the joneses. Some people are reminded, yet again, around this time of year of how f&*ked up and dysfunctional their family is during these “happy family times” due to abuse and addiction. Furthermore, maybe it’s the first year in their adult life that they have to get through the holidays without abusing substances themselves.

If this is you, I hear you. Last year, for a variety of reasons, I couldn’t WAIT to flee to Mexico around Christmas time to avoid the Christmas craze. This year I’ve been able to enjoy it again and I’ve been listening to the Christmas tunes everyday, but I can understand why some may wish to skip the entire month of December all together.

If the holiday season sucks for you this year, know that you aren’t alone. It’s okay to avoid the whole thing and its okay to feel this way. I encourage you to practice mindfulness during this time, and try to do things that make YOU feel good. Try one or two of these things if you’re strugglin’ this year:

Exercise

Good hard exercise requires all of your attention, and therefore it can’t be elsewhere. Double bonus – the gym is particularly empty at this time of year!

Connect

If you like to connect with other humans but your family are not those chosen humans, consider volunteering with an organization that you can get behind. And if you cant find something that suits you, volunteer at the SPCA because those pups are sure to put a smile on your face.

Try something new.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to try hot yoga or a pottery class – do that now. Maybe there’s an online course you’ve been wanting to do, this is a great time to allow yourself to do that!

If you can, give.

It doesn’t have to be a gift to your undeserving loser brother, but maybe to a food bank or foundation that helps the homeless out at this time of year.

Engage in humour.

Okay so maybe your husband isn’t as funny as he thinks he is, so make an effort to watch your favourite comedies or YouTube cat videos. Laughter is therapeutic!

Band together with other non-christmasers.

You can avoid the holiday season but Christmas day itself can be tough because everything is closed and everyone is busy. Maybe get together with a friend who also doesn’t celebrate Christmas and get outside for a hike or beach fire (if you’re a spoiled west coaster like I am, that is).

And if all else fails, flee to Mexico like I did. No shame in some sun and sand. Whether the holidays bring you happiness, sadness, or a mix of both, I hope that that you are able to experience some joy even if it isn’t the traditional type of joy. ❤

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