"Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection." - Winston Churchill.
Most of us hear every year, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But is that an accurate statement?
Christmas is full of joy, fun, and lights. In some homes, you may feel like you are in a winter wonderland and get a “warm and cozy” feeling. My home is no winter wonderland, but my decorations are up, making me feel good.
Christmas is not joyful for everyone. People need to be sensitive to that. I have feelings that contradict each other about Christmas. I had many good Christmases growing up. My parents made it fun and meaningful. We would do something fun as a family on Christmas Eve, open presents that night, and go to my grandparents the next day. When I got married, we shared Christmas with both families.
Then, in 1994, I lost a child due to an adoption failure. My husband left me nine months later. I was extremely depressed. When Christmas came around, my mood got even worse. I did not want to live through the holiday. I was isolated from my friends and family, did not decorate for 12 years, and barely functioned. During those years, the holiday season was not joyful.
However, I am lucky and have a great support system. My friends would include me in Christmas activities, and I would begrudgingly go. I was determined to have a miserable time, but they kept smiling and encouraging me to get out and learn to enjoy myself.
In adulthood, I spent Christmas with my mom and aunt. Even though I was not alone, I felt alone and abandoned by the ones I loved.
Christmas was a time of year I had to endure.
As I write this, it is the last month of 2023; I have very little family left. Both of my parents have passed away. I do have one brother and sister-in-law who live in Boston. I am childless and single. Can I find joy?
Yes, I can! Finding joy at Christmas does not mean there isn’t any sadness. I miss having a family and dream of having a little family to share the season with. I have friends in Oklahoma who love me and are my second family. I often spend Christmas with them! My friend's grandchildren are the light of my world. They are no longer children, but I enjoy watching them open their Christmas gifts!
This year, I feel blessed. And yes, there is some sorrow. I have learned to deal with those feelings. I feel those feelings, journal, and move on. It is not an easy task, but one of the ways that helps me get through the season,
Another way Christmas is more joyful is when I realize what the season is about. It is the time of Christ’s birth. The season is not about what I receive or who I spend it with, but who I am living my life for, Jesus Christ.
Finding joy during the Christmas season can be challenging for someone who is feeling sad or going through a difficult time. However, it's possible to discover moments of happiness and comfort by focusing on self-care, connecting with loved ones, and embracing the holiday spirit. Here are some tips to help a sad person find joy during the Christmas season:
• Prioritize self-care routines: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress, such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. (For me, it is prayer!)
• Get enough rest: Ensure you're well-rested, as lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of sadness.
• Maintain a healthy diet: Eating nutritious foods can positively impact your mood and energy levels. (This is excellent advice. But a Christmas treat is okay in moderation)
• Reach Out to Others: Connect with loved ones: Spend time with family and friends who can provide emotional support and companionship.
• Share your feelings: Don't hesitate to open up and talk about your emotions with someone you trust.
• Volunteer: Consider giving back by volunteering for a charitable organization. Helping others can bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
• Adjust Expectations:
• Manage holiday expectations: Understand that the holidays don't have to be perfect. It's okay to scale back on traditions and celebrations if you're not feeling up to it.
• Set realistic goals: Focus on achievable goals for the season, such as spending quality time with one or two loved ones or completing a small holiday project.
• Create New Traditions: Start new traditions: Experiment with new activities or traditions that make you feel joyful and create positive memories.
• Choose activities that bring you joy: Engage in activities you genuinely enjoy, whether watching holiday movies, baking, or crafting.
• Seek Professional Help: If your sadness is severe or persistent, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support and guidance.
• Practice Gratitude: Keep a gratitude journal. Write down things you are thankful for each day, even the small moments of joy.
• Focus on the positive: Instead of dwelling on negative thoughts, consciously shift your focus to positive aspects of the holiday season.
• Limit Social Media: Comparing your life to others' curated holiday experiences on social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Consider taking a break or limiting your time on these platforms.
• Embrace Simplicity: Reduce stress by simplifying your holiday preparations and commitments.
Remember that it's okay to experience sadness during the holidays, and you don't have to force yourself to be constantly joyful. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and take small steps towards finding moments of joy and comfort during the Christmas season.