Let’s be real.
Difficult situations are not reserved for just one time of year. However, it often feels like those situations never fail to be infinitely more difficult during the holidays. Whether it’s a relative that just won’t shut up about when you’re getting married or having kids, or you feel the absence of a loved one that has passed, or you feel alone, left out and depressed watching everyone’s else’s holiday festivities, or you feel a loneliness due to family and/or friends you have lost touched with or may not be getting along with, it’s always amplified tenfold this time of year. I know from personal experience.
I’ve always had a few difficult dynamics to deal with in life, and, while they have shifted and changed over the years, some becoming more difficult, some becoming less, they are still difficult nonetheless. Here are a few ways that help me handle those situations and emotions to keep them from getting out of hand around the holidays:
Take the Focus Off Your Family + Friends // Find a different group of people to hang out with and that offer support, a distraction, etc. Use things like Meet Up or Bumble BFF to find new groups, check out your church, local YMC or library for options, join a fitness program at a gym, look for a book club to be a part of, etc.
Volunteer // Donating your time and talent to those less fortunate is one of the quickest ways to make you realize just how small some of your problems might. It also provides a good distraction while doing good for others. Plus, you can find comforting in providing for other’s who may be in a similar situation of being lonely or without family during the holiday season.
Start Your Own Traditions // Hanging onto old family traditions can be painful, but by creating your own you’re also creating the opportunity to create new holiday memories tied to no one but yourself.
Practice Gratitude // While you may not have family to be thankful for in the way that others do, it’s important to remember that you still d have a lot to be thankful for.
Book a Trip // I know they say to not run from your problems, but I view this more as a pivot and focus switch away from difficult people/situations and onto an adventure. Whether it’s a day trip, a weekend getaway or a jaunt across the globe, nothing gets your mind off something like being hundreds of miles away from it, engulfed in local food, cultures, customs and scenery.
Pick Up a New Hobby // If you can’t swing a trip right now, try picking a new hobby to achieve a similar effect of switching focus. A few things to try include: baking, painting, knitting and volunteering.
Rely on Calming Products + Practices // Even though you may regularly use a variety of calming products and practices in your life, now is a good time to double down and incorporate even more. Think of it along the lines of how you might add extra supplement into your daily routine as a preventive measure against cold and flu season. Except in this case, cold + flu season is difficult people, and instead of supplements, it’s products + practices you’re using to build up your “immunity”.
Learn to say “No” // One of the best things you can do for your sanity and well-being is learning to say “No.” Listen to your feelings, what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t, and how to do things you want, not what other people want and learn to say “No” to anything that makes you uncomfortable, unhappy, angry, miserable and overall upset. Remember, it’s YOUR life, that YOU are in control of, and YOU don’t have to answer to anyone other than YOU.