Everyone knows what it feels like. My earliest memories of holiday blues were as a teenager. If we weren’t with my close cousins where I always felt at home, occasionally my parents would visit extended relatives or church friends. They’d be inside with everyone, food, music, chatter, maybe a few teenagers my age running around inside or playing video games– people I felt no connection to. Everyone having the same conversation 10 different ways, and, as an actor from a young age that’s pretty much all anyone talked about with me. “What are you working on now?” “Was that fun?” “Why did you decide to become an actor?” “If you could only act or only sing which one would you choose?” It was an endless merry-go-round of interview questions. I was also a solemn kid and always felt out of sync with everyone. So I’d go outside with a mug of hot chocolate and kick around the snow or take a neighborhood walk at night so I could finally be alone. I was happiest alone or with one of the few best friends I had. But holidays I fended for myself. All my friends were with their families so as often as I could, I’d sneak away to an attic to explore or outside to wander around in the cold. I would be out there for over an hour sometimes just walking and writing songs and stories in my head, but deep down I always felt lonely. Those holidays blues were always looming.
I’m sure many of you can relate to constantly feeling like the odd man out. You know, in retrospect the truth was I mostly just didn’t have the skill set to interact with other people and I hadn’t learned a lot yet about empathy (being a teenager, the world revolved around me, of course), so it was exceedingly difficult for me to care about people I didn’t know very well and who I knew I wouldn’t see again until a year or two later. I just felt like “what’s the point of talking to you? It’s a waste of time– I could be alone somewhere creating a song or something!” So, whether it’s self-inflicted isolation, or that work-a-holic syndrome where you need to be productive at all times and you hate the time wasting of the holiday laze, not many are strangers to the feeling of depression that comes from looking around you and seeing everyone happy and cozy, and then looking at yourself and seeing loneliness.
I have a suggestion for you; for us all, really.
Quit being a baby.
Too soon for tough love? Sorry, I know it’s harsh. But seriously, as much as you feel emotionally sidelined in this season, there are 10 other people in your environment who feel exactly the same way. Let’s start by letting go of our jealousy for people who are having a great season! When you feel that little green monster pop up along with his ugly brother self-pity– tell them to take a hike. We need people in the world who are enjoying their circumstances. YOU ARE one of those people sometimes, so it’s okay if someone else gets a turn. We can share joy.
The next thing we can do is stop thinking about ourselves. It is the season of giving after all. Why not look for people around us who may be in need of some cheer or companionship? Why not take the time to have a 30 minute conversation with the Aunt you’re not going to stay in touch with or see again until next December? I know you’d rather be scrolling through instagram but there is so much taking our focus on a surface level, why not take the time to feed your soul and someone else’s? Learn how to connect with someone and make them feel important. Learn something you never knew before and be open to hearing another person’s perspective. Have some real conversations this season.
Let’s shake off the pity parties and take the opportunities to engage and grow and love. You may be surprised to find out you’re not as lonely as you think.
How do you beat holiday blues? Post a comment and let us know?