Have you ever noticed that at least half of all Christmas songs are complete downers? I mean, from “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (stop lying to yourself—you won’t be home) to “Last Christmas,” a lot of holiday tunes focus on themes of loneliness and heartbreak. And don’t even get me started on the Christmas song about Momma’s red shoes…Talk about a tear-jerker!
Growing up, I never really understood why some people felt anything other than happiness during the holiday season. This year, on the other hand, after experiencing my first break-up a few months back, I’m starting to understand how the joys of Christmas can act as a constant reminder of what you have lost—whether that be a relationship, a family member, a sense of childhood innocence, etc. All the happiness and gaiety of those around you can make your own pain that much more apparent, and depressing Christmas songs certainly don’t help.
With the gloomy weather and these gloomy feelings festering during what’s supposed to be the hap-happiest season of all, I wanted to share a few ideas to overcome those Christmastime blues. This should me the most wonderful time of the year, and I want to help you (and myself) celebrate it as such. Here are 10 ideas for you to do just that!
Don’t let your woes inhibit you from doing your favorite Christmas activities. Just because you’re not in love or are grieving the loss of someone close to you, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the festivities of the holiday season with someone else. Invite your girlfriends to go view the Christmas lights with hot cocoas and candy canes in hand (who needs cute Christmas dates anyway?—girlfriends come first). If you know any little kids, you can help them make an awesome gingerbread house or decorate cookies. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with my eight-year-old cousin these past few months as a way to enjoy childhood vicariously. You can even invite a sibling or an old friend to do something like ice-skating!
Practice confidence. Tis the season to love yourself! Maybe you’re not feeling down on yourself this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect time to practice confidence anyways. Something I want to try throughout December is telling myself three things, out loud, that I love about myself in front of the mirror each morning. One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah from Sassy Red Lipstick, talks all the time about what a difference this made in her life, and I’m finally ready to try it!
For more self-confidence ideas and tips, you can check out my following posts:
Learn something new. I think one of the keys to beating the Christmas blues is staying busy. When I was at college, I hardly thought of my break-up because I was constantly occupied with other things. But now that I’m back home for winter break, with nothing to do but sit around…It’s like I’ve had a major relapse! That’s why picking up a hobby or trying to learn something new can keep your mind preoccupied. Last spring, I took guitar as an elective in my high school. I haven’t touched my guitar since graduating in May, but I picked it up yesterday to dink around and it brought me so much joy! Rekindle an old passion or try to learn that one thing you’ve always wanted to know how to do. It might surprise you to know how good it feels to finally follow through on something.
Complete a project from start to finish. Similar to learning something new, picking up a project or two can keep you busy and gloom-free. I spent Tuesday night sketching up some designs for the activities I have planned, such as the fascinator I’m going to make to wear on Derby Day this spring and the closet makeover I plan to do for all our gift wrapping materials (what a mess). Some other ideas include redecorating your bedroom, doing a closet cleanout, or even hanging up that picture frame you received years ago and have just never hung up (guilty).
Treat yourself. Do something fun just for you. Have an at-home movie night with your favorite film, popcorn, and sweets or enjoy a spa day with face masks and mani/pedis. One of my favorite things to do is try on my fanciest dresses and have a fashion show in my room, jamming out to my favorite songs. Because why not?!
Exercise. Ugh, I know…probably not what you want to hear. But not only will you feel good about yourself for working out (all those sweets really sneak up on ya’ this time of year), but the natural endorphins can really boost your mood as well. I know I always feel better after a good work-out, no matter how irritated I am going into it.
Give back this holiday season. I don’t know about you, but doing a good deed always lifts my spirits. When I was younger one of my favorite things to do this time of year was go with a group to sing Christmas carols at the local homeless shelter (only the happy songs though). Not only do I love to sing, but seeing their smiling faces was so rewarding! Other ideas include knitting hats for shelters or helping at food pantries/soup kitchens. You can also do one of those Secret Santa programs to buy a gift for someone in need.
Turn negative thoughts into something productive. My mom just gave me this idea last night and I think it’s brilliant. Every time you start to feel sad, turn it into something productive. Whether that be an activity like cleaning or (for me) doing sit-ups, you’ll get something beneficial out of your heartache, and it’s a quick way to distract yourself.
Write letters. I absolutely LOVE receiving mail, and recently I’ve loved sending it as well. Taking the time to write a handwritten note to someone is really thoughtful and shows just how much you’re thinking of them. That’s why receiving letters always means so much to me! This holiday season, write (or if you’re crafty, make) a letter to someone you haven’t talked to in awhile or someone you know who might be struggling this winter. It truly means so much.
Conquer a fear. Last but not least, try conquering a fear. I saved this one for last because personally, overcoming something I’m afraid of is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever experienced. I’m not saying you have to go out and bungee jump or do anything crazy—there are plenty of little, daily fears out there as well. But maybe like me, you’ll realize conquering fears produces its own kind of endorphin. My plan is to reach out to a really old friend and ask if he wants to catch up over coffee (the idea of that is really scary to me!).
Before I let you go, I just want you to know that you’re not alone this holiday season. I know when I’m feeling sad, I always try to isolate myself, convincing myself that nobody else knows exactly how I feel or went through the same experiences. But why do I, and many of us, do this? We’re giving ourselves too much credit. Sure, nobody has identical memories to yours, but the truth is so many people feel exactly what you’re feeling right now. And for whatever reason, that’s somehow comforting.
I hope you’ll find this blog post was at least a little helpful during this holiday season. If you ever need to talk, know that I am here for you! Shoot me an email or leave a comment below.
Now get out there and enjoy yourself—don’t forget to listen to the cheeriest of Christmas songs, not the depressing ones.
Miles of smiles,
Blue Cropped Tee: hand-me-down // Gingham Vest: JCrew Mercantile, $50, debut on the blog, purchase here // Black Lace-Up Pants: JCPenney, $11 // Blue Booties: White Mountain via DSW, $42 // Black Sunglasses: Charming Charlie, $7