Six tips to beat holiday blues

BAM! ZAP! THWAK! Holy holidays, Batman! I flipped on the boob tube Halloween afternoon and what flashed across the screen? Christmas commercials – already!?!

Candy canes already? But it's only November - and barely!

I’m all for boosting GNP, but do I have to fight the holiday blues this soon? For many of us, this premature, picture-perfect presentation of hyped-up-happy times is either irritating as hell, or downright painful. Surely I’m not alone in feeling this way!

Packaging

Once again, we’ll be served up a constant cup of idyllic imagery from now until New Year’s. Likewise, romantic life. And when reality doesn’t stack up?

Speaking for myself, all this personal packaging pressure makes me feel lousy. What is implicitly required is money, scads of friends and family, and an exclusive loved one. So could someone adopt me please? (Christian Louboutin, could you adopt me? I’ve been patiently waiting for months. Where’s the tie-up??)

While we’re at it, have I overlooked the money tree in the thicket of brambles and weeds I call a yard? Perhaps I only need to toddle outside and harvest those fifties dangling in the autumn breeze? My alternative? Re-gifting à la Seinfeld, which makes holidays on a budget sooooo much easier!

Romance Department

Third floor lingerie? No, no, no! I was crowded into this elevator headed up to the Romance Department! What’s gone wrong? It’s the time of year when you must be in a cozy couple, right? Because one is the loneliest number?

Creating a sense of festivity with gifts and gift wrapping, whatever is actually inside. As for lover’s laps in the dating pool, I’ve had my sparks, possibilities, and a few long swims. But then reality intrudes (kids, worries, logistics) and holiday romance (or the elusive love machine) scampers out of reach like those damn critters making noises in my attic.

Comparisons are pointless

Seriously – the temperature drops and I wonder (again) if I could have done something differently all those years ago, somehow sustained a home – even if it was based on illusion. I know that comparisons to days gone by (pre-divorce, or childhood) are pointless. It’s that sneaky single parent guilt that repeats like a bad meal, especially when holidays approach.

Looking back isn’t an answer. I need to focus on now, and besides, I genuinely like this “me” much more than the shadow of those other, illusory selves. But grappling with daily worries can color everything, particularly when we’re clobbered by so many year-end expectations.

For many of us the holidays are a time when loneliness is heightened.Holiday solitude

How can we fight the dark side of solitude, as we slide so quickly into Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s?

PEOPLE, people!

Maybe this is the ideal moment to join that online dating site, however imperfect a method to meet-and-greet. (Many internet dating services offer a free trial period which doesn’t hurt.) Getting out to a coffee shop or book store, taking a walk and saying hello to your neighbors if you haven’t in awhile – even dancing wildly around the kitchen to your favorite music can help. (Make sure the kids aren’t watching; they may have you hauled off and that kind of company isn’t ideal for wintry scenes of domestic delight.)

My ultimate six tips to beat holiday blues:

Easing loneliness is about getting off the island. It’s about interacting with the world – in person, on the phone, even online.

If all else fails, my cheaper-by-the-half-dozen holiday survival kit:

  • 3 friends on speed dial, regardless of location
  • 3 favorite drink mixes, for uplifting the spirit
  • 3 hot hot hot movies (the sexier the better)
  • 6 great books – thrillers, literary novels, poetry, whatever
  • 1 pair of knock-out shoes, just in case…
  • 1 good man to call, even if a friend and you chat about kids Jimmy Choo red satin pump coutesy InStyle dot com

Talking to myself (mutter mutter, tap tap)

Yes, this constitutes giving myself a good talking-to. Those commercials on Saturday ignited a slippery string of memories, and a jolt of panic that “that” time of year was here already.

Few of us have the picture-perfect situation we see on television, or carry in our mind’s eye. Family comes in all flavors, and media doesn’t reflect the reality of millions of lives. As for being alone, or feeling lonely, both are part of being human. Sometimes loneliness is awful. It’s also very common. So I say – grab those dancing shoes, and be ready. There may be something – or someone – just around the next corner. And if you can’t decide on which shoes to pick up your spirits – make them red – to fight the blues!


© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. The holiday commercialization has gotten way WAY out of hand. However, like you, I am all for boosting our economy, and I don’t really have a problem with using Christmas to do it. The one thing I don’t really care for though is that it tends to overshadow a much more relevant Holiday — Thanksgiving. Christmas is just a mish mash of toys and extravaganzas of lights. It doesn’t mean much to me. But, thanksgiving is a real holiday. It’s too bad it’s not a bigger deal.

    Oh, and I’m with you on the having three drinks available at all times :-) Not so sure about the knock out shoes though!. HA.

  2. Be sure to connect the dots so those friends on speed dial see a sexy movie with you, then enjoy a drink while chatting about books. All while you look fabulous in those heels!

  3. Well! I’m sure about the knock out shoes!! And the drinks of course.

    This is a great post chickie. I am refusing to have Holiday Blues this year! I’ll have to bookmark this … ;)

  4. ugh, i am already not-looking-forward to some things this holiday season :-(

  5. Great post. The last paragraph really spoke to me. Note to self: go buy some great red shoes!! :)

  6. Hope I’m one of those numbers on speed dial!

    I’m so looking forward to the holidays. Last year was hell on earth. Problems with a teenager, no tree, no spirit at all unless spirit in the gutter counts.

    This year I plan to decorate early and if I get lucky will find a good man to call between now and Christmas.

  7. Great ideas. I remember those times of trying to figure out how to stretch my meager salary and the child support to pay the bills and pay for a holiday while being alone. I have learned to embrace my alone-ness, not loneliness as there is a difference.

    Here’s to the good drink and hot movies with your good friends! And definitely the hot shoes!

  8. LOL!
    Well, since my holiday plans to Australia tubed recently, I am calling the holiday off. It is kind of a timing thing, really. If pain hits right before or during the holidays it is a bit tough to just bounce back.
    For me this year, I decided to quite pretending. I’m broke. I can’t afford present one for any of the kids, let alone four of them. So, the kids are going to their dads’, I’m not even putting up decorations. No gifts, no celebrating. The kids can get that at their dads’ they don’t need two hauls. This year, I’m just going to be grateful we have us and we are intact.
    I do have the holiday blues, sorry to be such a downer. But, for some of us… that’s just the reality this year. Won’t be this way every year… I hope.

  9. Ginger Magnolia says:

    I’m really glad that you wrote this, because these are some of the things that have been on my (and I’m sure many people’s) mind lately. As a single mom, I’m worried about all of the above mentioned concerns – money, loneliness, etc., and have been quietly thanking my stars that I have a few friends locally that are likely to be around to do things over the holidays.

  10. ms. b,

    your words and thoughts really resonate
    you are the best :-)

  11. BigLittleWolf says:

    This was definitely a pep talk to myself as well as to those other single parents out there.

    But struggling through the holidays isn’t just about single parenthood or even money problems; there are so many people who are alone, for so many reasons, and a variety of pressures that make so many of us feel worse about our lives.

    None of my friends live nearby, so, I’ll definitely need the speed dial! And I’m hoping when my elder son comes home from college he’ll fill our tiny home with other teens, rather than taking off elsewhere. I’m fine with 10 kids sleeping on my living room floor! I want the chaos, noise, and energy that comes with all that! (And my red shoes are on standby…)

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