There are many holidays that provide opportunities to celebrate throughout the year. No matter what time of year it is, there’s usually some holiday right around the corner.
For many people, however, the holidays can be a sad, depressing time of year. Whether it’s a specific holiday or the general celebration of all holidays, it can be difficult for many people to get into the spirit of celebration.
In the workplace, where there are many other people sharing their experiences and being fully committed to the holidays, it can be difficult for others to get through. The reasons can vary from person to person, but no matter the reason, there are ways that you can take back the feelings of wanting to celebrate a holiday and make it something that you will want to remember for the rest of your life.
- Create your own traditions
When you’re in the office listening to others share their wonderful past holidays, and you’re steeping in your own past experiences wishing you could forget them and move on, it can difficult to make it through the workday.
I used to despise celebrating my own birthday because I’ve had so many bad experiences around it. Although not a national holiday per se, everyone has a birthday. A lot of the bad experiences were relationship related, but before I met my wife, and she helped me create amazing, lasting memories surrounding my birthday, I wouldn’t celebrate it.
I would take my birthday off work just so I wouldn’t have to be subjected to happy birthday wishes from others. I took my birthday off social media so others wouldn’t know it was my birthday.
But, by doing all this, I was isolating myself from everyone else and creating more sad birthdays for myself. By not celebrating, it became one more birthday to add to my list of birthdays that didn’t go well.
The year I completed my graduate degree and started teaching, I decided to make a change. Instead of taking the day off from work on my birthday and being sad in my apartment all day, I decided to take a trip to see pandas and eat barbecue. On my day off, I drove 3 hours to a zoo that had pandas, and afterwards I enjoyed barbecue.
Although I was by myself on my birthday, I started a tradition that I enjoyed telling others.
- Coworker: “Happy late birthday! So, did you do anything fun?”
- Me: “Yes! I went to the zoo to see pandas, and I got some pretty good barbecue!”
- Coworker: “That sounds like fun! I’m glad you enjoyed it!”
The following year on my birthday, I traveled out of the city again to enjoy my day. When I started dating my wife, we kept up my tradition of doing something fun on my birthday, although it took some time to fully embrace my birthday as a day to celebrate.
When a holiday has a dark cloud looming over it for a reason specific to you, one thing you can do is start your own tradition filled with fun things that you 100% enjoy doing. Whether you’re by yourself or with friends or family, start growing fond memories to associate with that holiday. Venture out, try new things, and fill your memories with great experiences.
I love pandas, and I love food. I enjoyed visiting a new city, and I did something similar the next year as well. It definitely beat staying in my apartment sulking all day on my birthday.
2. Get involved in the holiday spirit at work
This one can be difficult, especially if you’re not a fan of the holiday being celebrated, however, think of it like a volunteering give-back situation.
If decorations are being put up or potlucks are being assembled, volunteer your services! Giving back is always an inspirational way of building holiday cheer. If you help others in celebrating the holiday, you’re building a connection with them, and you can learn about their experiences in the holiday. Building friendships and being connected is a great way to steer clear of going down the path of isolation and depression. It’s also a great way to get inspired for what you can do for the holidays.
As an example, let’s say your work has its annual potluck. You bring in a wonderfully fudgy brownie, and it’s a big hit. Over food, you hear a coworker talk about a town close by that really gets into the holiday spirit with decorations and festivals. You enjoy festivals, so you talk to them about their experiences with it. From there, you make your own plans to visit and create happy memories.
Getting involved in workplace festivities may go against your immediate feelings, but in return for doing this, you have an opportunity to develop connections, make friends, and get inspired to create happy, lasting memories.
3. Tell someone you trust how you feel
Talking about your feelings can be tough. However, during the holidays, it is so easy to isolate yourself from the world and fall into a depressed state. It’s important that you talk to someone you trust about how you feel. It may not be easy, but having someone provide support can make a world of difference in how you continue to perceive the holidays.
Whether it’s friends, family, or concerned coworkers, being able to talk about your feelings surrounding the holiday in question is a huge step in the right direction.
But, how do you bring up these feelings in a conversation? It can be as natural as the following:
- Friend: “I am ready for this 3-day break! It’s going to be so much fun!” Do you have any big plans?”
- Me: “No, I don’t really like to celebrate this holiday. I’ve had some bad experiences. I’ll probably just stay home.”
- Friend: “What happened? You know, you’re welcome to hang out with me if you want. It’ll be great!”
Look for an invitation in conversations to share your feelings and see how they respond. It should be clear if they want to be supportive or if they don’t.
What’s important here is that you’re sharing your feelings. You wouldn’t want to keep in any negative feelings to let it brew and build up. I’ve used the balloon analogy previously, and it also applies here. You don’t want to be like a balloon with too much air and pop.
Instead, find someone you trust to share your feelings with, and you will start to feel better. They will look out for ways to support you and make the holidays a more positive experience for you.
The holidays are a time for celebration, but for many people, it brings up old, painful memories. It can be difficult to manage these feelings, especially in a workplace environment where you’re there for a bulk of the day. Here, we discussed 3 things you can do to keep your spirits up during the holiday times:
- Create your own traditions
- Get involved in the holiday spirit at work
- Tell someone you trust how you feel
Reach out to someone if you or someone you know start showing signs of depression or something worse during the holidays as well as any time of year. You’re not alone, and it’s important that you know that.
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