Christmas lights, menorahs, holiday-themed shopping bags- we’re in full holiday mode. It’s a time to be grateful, to celebrate.
So then why are so many of us feeling down or overwhelmed?
Insta-perfection and Facebook bragging
Everyone (and their mother) is posting about how grateful and happy they are right now. If we aren’t having a good holiday season, or even if we are, seeing those curated images of others having a great time could make us jealous. Maybe you’re thinking, “Why can’t I be like them?”
- A solid first step: Take a break from social media. It’s hard to remember that posts are just posts, and not reality. Take a second, what would happen if you put your phone away and just enjoyed a new book? Went on a walk?
The constant stream of ads on billboards, online videos and TV of picture perfect families spreading love or beautiful people buying new clothes can negatively impact us, psychologists have said. All you hear about from friends is their fun holiday plans. That can set us up to feel less-than for not having what we think everyone else has.
- A solid first step: Actively remind yourself, those ads aren’t real life. Those great holiday plans your friend is talking about? That’s great for her, but we have to find our own happiness-whether that means finding it or creating it. Think of ways to make the holidays better for yourself.
It’s a really busy time of year
Work might be much more busy for you. Or maybe the business of the holidays is stressing a person close to you and their stress is affecting you. Either way, it can feel like you don’t have enough time to rest and take care of yourself.
- A solid first step: Take the time you need to rest and take care of you. If that means cancelling on plans or telling someone else how their stress if impacting you, that’s perfectly ok. If it means putting your phone away so you do your nails or take a nap, do it.
You might find yourself in more situations where people are drinking a lot. You might feel pressure to join. Or it might bring out ugly things from people close to you.
- A solid first step: Recognize the pressure. Check in with yourself, you don’t have to drink to have fun or fit it. Mentally prepare ahead of time for how you’ll handle those situations. Maybe it’s a simple “Nah, I’m good” or “Thanks but I’m chill with the drinking for now.” Many people think drinking will make them feel better, but alcohol has the opposite effect, science says. If you feel like you are having trouble saying no, ask for help or talk to someone close to you about it. Chances are they just want to help.
If dealing with any of these issues feels like too much for you, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. You can always call 1-800-273-TALK in the U.S. to speak anonymously to someone who can understand and help you deal with what’s going on. To find a helpline outside the U.S., suicide.org has numbers for countries across the globe.
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