Everywhere you look is engulfed in celebration. Commercials with happy music and smiling faces, small talk about your plans for the upcoming weeks — this is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.
The holidays are a time of rekindling with distant relatives, reflecting on the joys the past year has brought and awaiting the delightful traditions that have been taught to us.
People often talk about the holidays being the most wonderful time of the year, but people rarely discuss how difficult they can become when you’re grieving. Whether you have lost a loved one, are suffering a big shift in your life’s dynamic, lost a relationship/job/friend, or are dealing with mental health struggles in this time, you are not alone, and I want you to know that it’s okay to not be immersed in excitement and cheer.
Mental health does not take any off days, and unfortunately, holidays are no exception to this. While those surrounding you may be in good spirits, excited for the joys that the next few weeks usually bring, it’s normal to feel down. It’s common for happy seasons and times of connection to feel bittersweet to those who have lost something or someone, and sometimes, it just feels bitter. It’s typical for this season to bring up feelings of loneliness, isolation, resentment, and sadness. It’s also expected to feel guilty for feeling this way, as it may seem at times like you are the only one who does.
I want you to know that you are allowed to feel; it’s okay to hurt when everyone else seems happy. More often than not, those around you are also attempting to put on a brave face. You are not pessimistic or negative—you are a human being with real emotions that demand to be felt.
Allow yourself to feel in this time of grief.
Allow yourself to process what you’re feeling.
Allow yourself to heal.
A new year is right around the corner, and walking into another season with suppressed emotions will set a negative tone for a time of rebirth.
For all of those struggling with their mental health this holiday season: I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself.
With all of the chaos that the holidays can bring, please don’t forget to take care of yourself.