Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and so many other holiday seasons are well and truly upon us. The time of year most of us have busy schedules with family and friends to visit, lots of food to eat and the end of one year and the start of another, a time of joy, happiness and excitement of things to come and things that have come to pass.
Unfortunately it is also a time of year that can become emotionally demanding and stressful. Some people even suffer high levels of discouragement and depression and even loneliness. The latter isn't limitedd to those who live on their own; it can affect everyone at one point or another.
So often we try to fill such a void with things we see around us only to discover absolute futility of such an effort. We try to escape the harsh reality of our own emptiness through an assortment of ‘fillers’ by decking the halls with boughs of holly and creating the illusion of happiness. But more often than not, it is just that, an illusion.
True meaning of the season can’t be found in shopping malls or Christmas parties. It can’t be found in clubs, or around large dinner tables. For many these don't ring true. What is the true meaning? Only you can answer that one, as it means different things for different people.
I myself find this time of year very difficult. I usually end up watching some TV or going to bed early, waking up Christmas morning to nothing but another day.
Don’t despair, you are not alone. There is so much for you to give and share. Try to do something different. I don’t mean go out of your way to meet people, or try to attach yourself to some gathering. No I mean simply, let the day be as the day is.
What can you do?
Enjoy sunlight, outdoors if possible, go for a walk, go in to town, window shop, buy random greeting cards, and write in them a little message and go around your neighbourhood and drop them off into random letter boxes (you’ll be surprised at how much this small gesture will mean to some people).
Brighten up your home. Light therapy sometimes helps. Eat out if you feel brave enough, but focus on enjoying it instead of being saddened by it or maybe if you prefer not to do something on your own, then how about going to watch a movie? Why not pamper yourself by taking a long hot bath, meditate, and listen to some soothing music, read a book or even sleep in.
There are services out there to help you also. Feeling really sad? You can call a Crisis Hotline as the people on the line are there for you and will be there to just talk to you. It doesn’t mean you are hopeless, it simply means you have an opportunity to talk to someone who will understand, that’s why there are there. Although some are focused on suicide prevention, most will take your call if you are just feeling overwhelmed, lonely, stressed, or just having a really bad time through the holidays. We all need a little help sometimes in making our way through the storms. Here are two in Canada, but you can always do a quick search online by typing in "contact hotline" or “crisis hotline” for links to hotlines around the country and locally to you;
If you have money issues - who doesn't - monitor what you spend. This will stop any grief from overspending after all the festivities have come and gone.
Have you considered even helping out with a charity? Offer some volunteering; you will be totally amazed at how much this will uplift you. Not only does it help them make a small (or huge) difference in the community, it offers multiple benefits to you also. It can give you a real sense of meaning in this crazy world. There are so many agencies that would truly appreciate anything you can do to help.
These are just a few examples of things we can all do if we are feeling down or depressed during this season.
Lack of romance, family break ups, and bereavement can make your holidays dismal. One of Elvis Presley’s most popular songs was “Blue Christmas”, a lonely depressing song mourning heartbreak and lost love. Well try out the video below, which I hope will bring a smile to your face instead.
At the end of it all, you make the call. It’s your choice how you celebrate or deal with this time. Remember you are not alone, no matter how lonely or overwhelmed you feel. We are here for you and so are many others.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and a great start to the new year.
'Til 2013 – much love......
HIV, Christmas, Holidays, loneliness, depression, volunteer, New Year, Canada, Crisis Hotline, Thanks Giving, family, friends, joy, happiness, celebrate