Take a deep breath. You’re going to be fine.
Whichever parcel-slinging pastime your belief system allows you take part in is right around the corner, and you are finding yourself holed up in a city that taunts you with sparkles like the smiles of family members you sorely wish you could spend even a breath with.
As a society, we have become so engrossed by the fear of spending teatime without hands to hold or laying heads near painfully cold pillows. The holiday season has become an annual epoch to parade parcels and people, to prove to yourself that you have enough money, or connections, or love.
In these moments of strife, we can, very naturally, blame the lack of people we have to share moments with on our perceived inadequacies.
Deep breaths. Smile. For there is plenty of life available to not only get you through, but to help you grow as a human being.
This holiday season, you deserve the gift of taking time to love the most important person of all, the one you have become.
Even if you are alone, you don’t truly have to be. The advent of the Internet has given people a myriad of ways to keep the lonely at bay, and this holiday season is no different. You can inject your day with a healthy dose of video chat. Spend moments of painfully awkward preoccupation with socially deficient aunts and uncles, or spend hours with screened-in lovers longing to be closer to where you are. Stray from the feeling of embarrassment, and let loved ones know that you would like to be part of their day.
One’s dwelling can serve to intensify feelings of absence or work to make one feel like they are enough. It may feel like a meaningless venture to decorate the space you call home if you do not have people to share a makeshift tapestry with; however, the nostalgia of the smell of pine needles or the burnt-out the lightbulbs that parents maintain using year after year can be uplifting and worth it. Remind yourself that regardless of whether someone will be a part of your holiday experience, the spirit of the solstice will occupy your home. Don’t have the wherewithal to buy a tree? You can have rich, pine-hugging nostrils without the fruitless endeavor of keeping a dead tree on life support by collecting stray pine needles and boiling them in a large pot with a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects millions of Americans a year, and while there are a litany of reasons one can have to feel down during times of being beside yourself, by yourself, it is important to remember that you are not powerless in feeling the way you do. Meditation has proven to alleviate depressive symptoms and even shrink the part of the brain that deals with anxiety and depression. It is quickly becoming respected by the scientific community and could be exactly what you need in understanding some of the sorrow that may accompany these times. When you are with yourself, be within yourself—go swimming through the moments of age 11, or your first kiss, or a time when you had family to spend these times with. If you are new to meditation, I would recommend beginning with a guided meditation session.
Once you have had a taste of appreciating moments of meandering through your mind, put pants to hips, coats to clavicles, and experience the morning breeze that waits patiently the way children wait patiently for groggy mothers and fathers to lumber down creaking stairs. While many storefronts will find themselves shuttered on Christmas Day, the streets are often alive with children atop aluminum dragons, rocketing themselves down streets. The hope you can find in bright eyes and skinned knees churning fresh chains can be enough to make one appreciate the awe-striking experience of clutching onto life’s pendulum.
If you are instead feeling that calm could come from an ice-cold craft beer and the warmth of strangers, take a triumphant stroll towards King Street Public House for the Open- Bar Mitzfah Event on Christmas Eve. While this event has the appearance of a Jewish affair, it is wide open to any human wanting to feel the inclusion of close shoulders.
You must not drown in bedsheets and thoughts of inadequacy, but stand strong with chins held high and eyes aimed at the adventure of solitude. Allow all of the love you can muster to wash over fearful frowns, and stand strong in the bravery and magic of simply being.