With the holiday season upon us, it is impossible to miss the festive lights, ribbon-wrapped wreaths, and cheery grins that are hallmarks of this time of year. For many, this season calls for family gatherings, gift-giving ceremonies, and hot drinks in warm homes. Laughs are shared, memories are made, and ambitious New Year’s resolutions are drawn up in anticipation of a more productive new year.
But despite the seemingly omnipresent cheer, there are many people for whom the holiday season brings an overwhelming sense of gloom and hopelessness. Because of the frequency of family gatherings between November and January, the absence of certain family members may be particularly conspicuous. Perhaps you do not have any friends or family members nearby and so anticipate that this will be yet another holiday season spent alone. Or perhaps a very close family member passed away around this time of year and so it is particularly painful.
If any of those last few sentences speak to your own experience, know that you are not alone. The holidays can be difficult for many people, and not all believe they have the freedom to admit it. In reality, by giving voice to your experience and connecting with others who have the tools to offer support, you may begin to create a pathway to healing.
For those of you who welcome the holiday season with open arms, I encourage you to share your light with others around you. There are so many ways to accomplish this. For example, you might write your name and number on a piece of paper and slip it to someone who you know may need extra support at this time, send a card to a distant relative with whom you have been meaning to reconnect, intentionally schedule quality time with a friend who recently experienced a loss, or give back to the larger community by volunteering at a shelter.
No matter how you approach the holidays, it is often so special and impactful to connect with others around you at this time of year. Whether it is with a family member, friend, or mental health professional, it tends to be a mutually beneficial process that fosters understanding, compassion, and solidarity to everyone involved. Remember to connect this holiday season and fuel your inner light into the new year.
Shy Porter provides couple, family, and individual therapy at Lindsey Hoskins & Associates in downtown Bethesda, MD. Call or email today to set up a complimentary telephone consultation or initial appointment! firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-752-7650.