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1. You are not alone.
Whether you’re surrounded by people or living alone. Whether you’ve tried to dabble in the Christmas spirit, or kept to yourself. Whether you’re struggling to feel positive about the holiday season, or completely rejecting anything that has to do with it—know that you’re not alone.
You’re not the only one who feels discombobulated in December, who has lost their way as the winter came along, who doesn’t really know how to feel or where to fit. Know that so many other people have mixed emotions when it comes to the holiday—whether from a bad past experience, family tension, stress, or just feeling out of sorts. It’s okay to feel the way you feel, as long as you acknowledge that your experiences aren’t just in your own head, and that there are plenty of people who care about you and want to lift you up.
2. You’re allowed to feel, and experience whatever emotions make the most sense to you.
Anything on your heart is yours to own and experience as you please. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel or to ‘get over’ a certain feeling before you’re ready. There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing bad about having the emotions that you do. Sometimes the holiday can be a burden, but know that you’re entitled to your thoughts, perspectives, and feelings. And know that people are here for you, in whatever way you allow them to be.
3. You are loved.
Whether by family or friends, coworkers or acquaintances, even strangers, the holidays often brings out love in beautiful, magical ways. Open yourself to that acceptance, to that care. Realize that even if you don’t feel like yourself, you don’t have to feel like you’re unimportant.
4. You don’t have to be at home or have a ‘home’ to feel the holiday spirit.
Maybe you’re away from home. Maybe you’re living on your own. Maybe your travel plans were cut because of funds or the inability to travel. Whatever your reason is, know that ‘home’ is not defined or rooted to one place. You can make ‘home’ anywhere, and with anyone.
5. You can find happiness in the little things.
There is so much beauty around you—the change of seasons, the wildlife, the smiles exchanged on crowded streets, the flurry of shoppers buying gifts, the energy in the air. Maybe you haven’t really been feeling your best. Maybe you’re just tired, or down, or dizzy as the Christmas rush spins all around you. However you feel, whatever’s going on, know that there is so much to be happy about. And you can find joy in noticing the little things.
6. You are valued.
Your presence at work, where you live, in your daily life is valued by the people you interact with. Though sometimes it can feel like you don’t matter, you do. Let yourself see and believe this.
7. When you are feeling low, seek others, books, music, positive quotes, good friends and family members.
If you’re fighting depression, or just can’t seem to shake your negative feelings, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether that’s talking to someone you trust, going to see a counselor, or just surrounding yourself with uplifting books/quotes/articles/shows/etc. your mental health is a priority. And you don’t need to be struggling alone.
8. Make time for yourself and to do what feels right to you.
In the rush of the holidays, it’s so easy to move at 2740mph. It’s so easy to neglect yourself and what you need. It’s so easy to be busy and fall into unhealthy habits. This season, make sure to take time to do things for yourself. Make yourself and your self-care a priority.
9. You don’t have to be everything for everyone.
You don’t have to have the perfect gifts, the perfect house, the perfect decorations. You don’t have to make it to every single holiday party, or check off every item on your Christmas To-Do List. It’s okay to take breaks, to say ‘no,’ to not be everywhere and everything to every single person in your life.
10. You won’t always feel the way you do right now.
Maybe you’re down in the dumps. Maybe you’ve been battling a serious mental illness. Maybe you’re just about ready to give up. Seek help, seek medical attention, seek what you need to heal. But also acknowledge that the way you feel right now won’t last forever. And cling to that hope.
11. There will be better days.
There will be days that don’t involve gifts and reunions and gatherings filled with food and drinks. There will be days where you can just relax, just refocus, just be your own company. If the holidays just aren’t your thing, of if you’re utterly exhausted by the mess of it all—remember that there will be better days.
12. Remember, the holiday season is about the spirit, not the tangible gifts.
Don’t get caught up in gift-giving, in list-making. If you’re a person of faith, remind yourself of the true meaning of Christmas—that Jesus was born, and would eventually give His life for us. How incredible is that? When you’re caught up in the craziness, in the sometimes emptiness, remember that this season is not about presents under the tree, but sharing love and memories with the people around us. It’s not about the gifts, but the gift we were given.