Being Alone During the Holidays – A Truthful Look at Traditions

Being Alone During the Holidays – A Truthful Look at Traditions

The holidays.

How many of you just went “ugh!” or “sigh….” We have so much pressure, so much baggage, so many emotions and that's why we often head straight to the fridge for a fix of sugar. After all you HAVE To eat one of Aunt Jill's peanut butter sugar cookies covered in frosting, whip cream and chocolate!

No you don't. But we need to step back from the emotions (easier said than done) and take a long hard look at the holidays.

Most of the articles I looked at about “Surviving the holidays” gave out great advice like “have another cookie (glamour)” or basically get drunk.

We stress out about the holidays because what the holidays are supposed to be if your “normal” is jammed down our faces.  There are all sorts of normal things we are supposed to be doing.

Jewelry commercials are the worst. Attractive happy people so in love. Ugh. “This is what everyone is doing,” you think. I want to see the Jewlery couple a year later when they are arguing over what type of lights to put on the tree, and whose house they are going to first on their Christmas tour of inlaws. “The woman of your dreams is now treating you like a child as you carry the pumpkin pie, as she insists it goes into the trunk and NOT the backseat” the diamond from last year is almost paid off thanks to the 18% interest on the credit card you opened to purchase it.

For example, ladies if you are not sitting in the living room sipping wine and giggling, you're not normal. Apparently, women can't do anything without wine. It is the equivalent of beer commercials with men. Men drink beer. Women drink wine (apparently when they are doing everything).

Flip Your Thinking

Have you ever decorated a tree alone? It is one of the most depressing things you can do. Why? Because on TV everyone decorates with their family. So when I decorate my tree alone last year, I felt horrible. I felt abnormal. I felt like an outsider looking in. The reality of tree decorating is there is usually a discussion on what ornaments go in the front (because your heartfelt ornament is considered ugly by others). Do we put icicles on the tree? Flashing lights, old style lights, LED, so many things to argue over. The flip side of this is you get to decorate YOUR tree with all the ornaments YOU want. Enjoy the power. You get to decorate HASSLE free.

How many times do you do something and feel like “Let's just get it over with” when it comes to traditions?

Hate gift exchanges with strangers at work? Don't participate. Why go through another pointless activity to get a gift card from someone? Gift cards, the gift that says “I don't know you, and didn't feel like asking the person who sits next to you what you might enjoy. Happy Shopping. I hope you like Kohls.” You have to weigh the lesser of two evils. Are you going to be seen as the Grinch, or have to put on a fake smile for 90 minutes.

Holiday Parties with Families

Let's face it, we are glad we only see some of these people once a year. Apparently, bathing is optional for some people. Who knew?

I can't wait for someone to asking me about my dating life. If I'm lucky, they will rub my shoulder and give me the pity look. “Hang in there, you'll find someone” they say.

Have an answer ready for, “So are you dating anyone?” This could be, “Im so glad you asked Aunt Mildred, I'm sleeping with five different people” just to see the reaction. You could also state that you've been having too many adventures to squeeze someone in (then tell them what you've been up to). You may avoid the pity face.

Get them talking about themselves (if they are parents, ask about their kids) when they are done, go for more punch before they ask about your dating life.

Offer to help out with whatever is going on in the kitchen.

Speaking of families, my cousin (who has never married) once told me he would rather want what he doesn't have, then to have something he didn't want. That one made me think.

What Is Up With All the Kissing?

Put scissors in your pocket and cut down all the mistletoe

Realize that New Years Eve is alot like prom: highly overrated. I remember one year I didn't even stay up to watch the ball drop. When I woke up, the new year was here anyway.

Ever notice that cold and flu season coincides with the holidays? It's all the kissing.

Seriously Snoopy Just Made Me Cry

iPrevailWhy do we get depressed? Because its the most wonderful time of the year. Andy Williams said so. The bottom line is when you expect something to happen, and it doesn't, you feel lousy. Start a new tradition. There is a lot of pressure to smile, look good, and be happy. Eliminate some of the pressure by saying No. The holidays are about being thankful and giving. Be thankful for who you are and give yourself a break. You don't need to be scrooge, but you don't have to say yes to everything. Then there are those people who remind you about the true meaning of Christmas, and the baby Jesus. When you are lonely, there are times the story of a baby getting perfume don't cheer you up.

There may be times when you're just blue. If you feel like crying, do it. It's an orgasm for your soul in some cases. Quit fighting it and let it out. If you find yourself in a “real dark place” there is nothing wrong with going and getting some help.

Another way to let your feelings out is to start a journal.  The idea here is to let it out. Sometimes writing our feelings allows us to step outside of ourselves, and look at them differently. I use penzu.

Here are Some Tips to Make You Feel Better

Downsize and donate. Go through the closet and all those things you only wear when everything else is dirty? Give it to a charity. It will make you feel better (and make room in your closet)

Go the the gym. Instead of arguing over the holidays with someone , go to the gym and get a jump on those new years resolution. I've never felt bad about going to the gym. I've felt sore, but not filled with regret. Plus in a month it is going to be packed at the gym, you might as well go there now while it's empty.

Forgive someone . Some of the stress in our lives is based on grudges and stuff that happened in the past. Take advantage of this time when people think of family and friends and reach out and maybe patch things up with someone. In the event you don't want to get back to a place where this person is in your life, see if there is a way to get some closure on a situation. Start the new year with less regrets.

Focus on what you DO have instead of what you don't.

So much of the holidays are spent remembering the past. Maybe its time to start a new tradition.

So many people put down other people to feel good about themselves, go a different route.  Quit talking about working in a soup kitchen, and go do it. I guarantee you will walk out of their feeling thankful for everything you have.

To Sum It Up

Acknowledge your feelings.

If you recently lost someone, it's OK to cry and miss them as you try to adjust to the new normal.

Reach out to organizations if you need help.

Realize the holidays don't have to be perfect. Trying to make them perfect will only bring pressure.

Accept your family or who they are.

Don't binge on food, shopping, or alcohol. Don't throw away any good habits you have.

If you can plan ahead, it might help eliminate last minute scrambling. Try to plan some “down time” even if its 15 minutes to just sit and be quiet.

Most people who care about you will understand if you just say,”I'd love to, but I've got too much going on already.”

In the end, the holidays are a mental game. With pressure from the media of what we are “supposed” to do, throw in relatives and we may be outnumbered. So with this I say, if you feel a little blue it's OK. Take solace in knowing you're not the only one, and thus is it normal to feel this way. Realize then that you are normal. The holidays are three days (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) 72 hours.  You can make it.

If you need to hear a voice, I found this place

Samaritans Crisis Response Hotline
When You Need Someone to Talk To
(212) 673-3000

As always, if you need emergency help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911.

If you prefer to chat with someone via a chat window, check out iPrevail. This is a pretty cool service. If you need someone to talk to, and if you decide later you'd like to do some counseling, they have some pretty cool online classes. mentors, and more. The price is only $10 a month, the live chat is free.

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