Once November 1st hits, it seems you can't escape the holidays: the twinkling lights, the jolly Christmas music, the hustle and bustle throughout every store, the precious time with your family.
But this time of year can also be incredibly sad and isolating, for a whole host of reasons. It could be that you're grieving the loss of a loved one or you don't have a place to go for the holidays. Or maybe you're low on money and the idea of buying gifts is totally overwhelming. Or you're just dreading the somewhat inevitable election talk that will pop up around the dinner table. No matter the cause, we've all felt a little low this time of year. So I've collaborated with my mom, Heidi Furlow, a certified social worker and the director of social work at a senior home on Long Island, to list three ways you can overcome holiday blues this season. Sit back and soak this in, my friends!
1. "Don't expect too much from yourself, be gentle with yourself. It's just another day." If you're feeling lonely or overwhelmed, find ways to ground yourself, like yoga, meditation, or even simply going for a walk in your neighborhood to get some fresh air. Everything seems so hyped up around us, like the holidays need to be perfect, but each one truly is just another day.
2. "Small acts of kindness actually help to improve your self-esteem, and therefore, your mood." Find ways to give back that are relatively easy and work for you. It could be something like smiling at a stranger, holding the door for an elderly person, or surprising a loved one with freshly baked cookies. The idea here isn't that you need to spend days upon days volunteering or give away loads of money. The more random and simple the acts are throughout your day, the better. P.S. This includes small acts of kindness to yourself! Don't forget to take care of you.
3. "Focus on gratitude." If you're with a bunch of family members or friends, take the initiative and suggest each person say aloud one thing they're grateful for. (Sounds hokey, but I did this a few times over the years at the Thanksgiving dinner table with my family and it often led to a surprisingly deep and emotional conversation.) It'll set a positive, mindful tone for the whole rest of the day.
I am so grateful for all of you, my readers, for your support this past year. Galbraith turned 1 on November 19th, and I'm ecstatic that I get to share these stories with you each week. Wishing you all the warmest, happiest Thanksgiving!
Lots of love,
P.S. And thank you to my wise mom for contributing to this story. Isn't she just brilliant?!
Photograph by Tom Schelling.