BY BRANDON MINIA
Joy to the world? Not for everyone.
There’s enough pressure as it is to be 100% on your game no matter what you’re dealing with throughout the year. The fact that there’s one day (and for some people, many days) where you have to be 150% for the sake of family and friends and peace on earth and mercy mild can be incredibly stressful.
There’s enough advice out there on how to achieve that “total peace” for the holidays, but for a large number of people, this isn’t always possible. What if you, unlike the rest of the world, don’t have a reason to celebrate the holidays this year?
You could be going through an intense crisis with your family, experiencing a really bad breakup, or suffering a bigger mental health episode than usual. Maybe attending large gatherings during the holidays runs the risk of encountering someone who was abusive to you, or maybe you just don’t like large groups of people. Maybe you don’t have any plans, and that’s definitely still something to be bummed out over.
Whatever it is, your reason for not wanting to celebrate the holidays is totally valid. But there is one common thing we all have that can help us get through this period of tinsel and tears; as cheesy as it is to say, it’s ourselves.
Speaking from experience, sometimes the only person available to you during the holidays is yourself. Maybe the friends you want to see are all out on a family trip. Maybe you don’t want to be a part of the festivities so you lock yourself in your room. That’s okay, because you know what? This is prime bonding time for yourself.
Think about it, throughout the year you are obligated to go to school, to go to work, or even both. Maybe you have volunteer work or extracurricular activities that you do in between. And above all that, you are also expected to spend time catching up with family and friends whenever you get the chance. So since you’ve made it to the end of the year, kudos to you for getting through all of that. Balancing school, work, and a social life is not an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be very emotionally draining.
There are a lot of pressures over the holidays to meet with family and friends that you haven’t gotten to see all year. However, we often forget that the relationships we finally get to attend to should include our relationship with ourselves. And without the pressures of school and work, what better time to relax and enjoy the things we love most? The winter break is a chance to catch up on all the shows you’ve wanted to see. Your chance to play all the video games, read all the books, draw all the art, write all the fiction (or fanfiction!) you’ve always wanted before you have to revisit the real world. When will you get an opportunity like this again?
On the surface, it might sound a little depressing, but it shouldn’t be. This is your chance to grow and reflect on the year. Consuming media has always been a way to explore other worlds – watching characters go through struggles that you yourself might be going through as well, and learning life lessons vicariously through them. Being able to create is an extension of that – putting what you learned about life into something healthy and fun that other people might be able to learn from too.
But wait, you say, you’ve already been doing this all year? So what’s the difference?
The fact that the holidays are one gigantic vacuum is the difference. If you’re doing all of this throughout the year, you’re most likely doing it while you’re supposed to be attending to other, ‘more important’ things. Here, you have none of that. You aren’t procrastinating. The world has literally stopped in its tracks.
Take advantage while the rest of the world isn’t looking, and spend time with yourself. Let this be a chance for you to enjoy your own company. Whether you have a few days off or a whole month, don’t forget that this is a rare opportunity to focus on you and you only.
One last thing to remember is that no matter how your holiday is going, there is nothing wrong with hoping that next year will be better. Be careful not to let this hope take over your thoughts and distract you from reality. But hey, if it keeps you going to think that maybe next year will be even a little better than this one, there’s nothing wrong with planting that seed of thought.
But for now, it wouldn’t hurt to try to enjoy this stressful time of year with the one person who you may not have had a chance to see throughout the entire year — yourself.
24OurMusic – http://www.24ourmusic.net/author/brandon/