Somehow, in the blink of an eye, summer passed, Halloween came and went, school resumed after Thanksgiving break and before we knew it, it was December. With December comes the holiday season. The holidays are a time typically known for gathering with family and surrounding yourself with loved ones. It is a time of gift-giving or perhaps a time to catch up with relatives. But what people forget is that the holiday season is also the loneliest time of the year for some individuals.
While some families may sit around their dining room table that extends all the way across the room, other families may struggle to put food on the table. While some families have presents piled high under the tree, other families may have to work overtime in order to buy one small gift. It is easy to forget this reality, especially when social media typically only shows the celebrations, not the struggles.
The holidays can feel super lonely for those struggling with depression. It can also feel extra sad for those who lost a loved one or for those who do not have a significant other. It is easy for these individuals to be consumed by social media and convince themselves that they are the only ones who feel this way. It is important to remember that social media is not reality. Social media often only features the highlights of the holiday season. Even those individuals who post a picture in which they seem happy as can be with their families, may be struggling with loneliness. It is important to not let social media fool you and to know that you are not alone.
This time of the year can also feel the most stressful. Bills tend to be higher and money seems to get tighter. Sometimes people can feel trapped in a situation where they need to buy a gift for multiple people, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed about how to pay for everything. When you feel this way, it is important to remember that the price of a gift does not matter— the thought behind it does. One way to gift-give without plowing through your bank account is to bake. Baking requires minimal expense, and the homemade aspect of it shows a sense of effort. Getting creative with your baking can be fun and relaxing, while also showing you care about the people you are gifting. And who doesn’t love a delicious treat!
Further, although this does not hurt your bank account, catching up with relatives can also be one of the most overwhelming and stressful aspects of the holiday season. As a college student, the classic “what do you want to do with the rest of your life?” questions get old very quickly. It is easy to feel like you have to show up to holiday celebrations with a list of things you are doing with your life in order to impress family members. College students typically tend to come home for the holidays completely burnt out following finals, so having to worry about these killer questions is not exciting.
No matter your situation, if you are feeling overwhelmed or lonely during the holiday season, try to take a step back and change your perspective. There is no written rulebook on what is supposed to happen during this time of the year. Trying to do things that make you happy is the best way to cope with the loneliness and stress this season brings. Remembering that there is no standard to live up to for the holidays and just trying to make the best of any situation is the best way to make it through this time.