Kindness Beats the Holiday Blues

While the holidays may be a time of festive cheer for many, they can also be lonely for those without a supportive or present family. Commercials showing children opening gifts under big Christmas trees and families lighting menorahs can bring a sense of holiday blues to people who spend the holidays on their own.

It’s important to remember that being on your own and being alone are two very different ideas. You can find peaceful ways to infuse your holidays with a sense of connection and meaning — regardless of your circumstances.

Appreciate the Moment

I spent two Christmases away from my family on the island of Nantucket. What I thought would be a difficult time transformed into a beautiful period of solitude and community. I woke up every morning and walked to the beach, soaking in the constant changes of the ocean. I lined up multiple holiday gatherings with the people I loved, and I even cherished a new Christmas Eve fondue tradition with a dear friend and her daughter. When I shopped for gifts, I made sure to pop into local shops, where I connected with people on a personal level. Even though I stayed on my own, I bought a small tree and decorated it with lights, nourishing my own dreams for a festive day. Because I spent the day away from my family and boyfriend, I bought myself some lovely gifts to open up with a cup of hot chocolate on Christmas morning.

A New Tradition

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the holiday blues, imagine how you can maintain your favorite old holiday traditions — or create meaningful new ones. A feeling of belonging may be closer than you realize. Reach out to your favorite people to let them know you’re struggling; those who care about you can’t help unless they know you need it.

Opening your heart to other people may be the key to filling your own with joy and gratitude. Try volunteering at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter to fill the holidays by sharing generosity with others.

No matter your approach, remember that in even the hardest moments: “This too shall pass.” The new year always follows the holidays, offering you an opportunity to start fresh.

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