This morning my mom and I got into a long chat about how a lot of folks get the holiday blues. “It makes me sad,” my mom said. “Maybe walking in the park would help them.”
I nodded and agreed that yes, walks in the park are always beneficial. Especially parks in Charleston. And then I thought back to a few of the past holiday seasons. Ever since my parents got divorced, I felt compelled to pull the whole “Pity me, I have to drive to two different houses and mingle with awkward step-siblings blah blah blah” card. And you know what? That’s a total waste of time. I’d really like to go back in that moment and slap myself for being such a pain. What a selfish thing to feel.
But at the same time, I get it. Holidays can be weird. Maybe you just broke up with your girlfriend or you’re living in a new town or you can’t stand Christmas carols and you’d rather hang solo with your cat named Harriet. It happens. Either way, here are a few things that help me get through the season when I’m feeling down in the dumps. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
1. Take a walk. I think my mom is on to something here. Walking is fun. Walking in nice parks is more fun. Added bonus: headphones and an awesome Pandora station. I recently made a Chromeo playlist and found myself dancing around almost instantly.
2. Talk to strangers. I went to Starbucks the other day and the place was packed. A nice lady approached me and asked if she could join me at my table. She then proceeded to take out her knitting needles and tell me about how she knits everyone in her family a scarf for Christmas. Then we talked about her cat. It was nice.
3. Help someone. This can be achieved fairly easily. You can donate your old coats to Goodwill. You can tell your brother that he needs to shave his mustache because he looks like he belongs on a Dateline special. You will feel better after helping someone. You will especially feel better when your brother listens to you and shows up to dinner clean shaven. (Not that I would know from personal experience.)
4. Give thanks. Let me be clear here. I’m really happy that the “Thankful November” thing on Facebook is over. If I see one more post about how someone is thankful for their hubby and how he untangles the Christmas lights, I may vomit. But then again, untangling Christmas lights with grace is an admirable quality. All I’m saying is when you stop and focus on all the great things you do have, life gets a little sweeter. I started a “gratitude journal” recently and it’s a great way to take something positive out of even the worst of days.
5. Stop being an asshole. This is a big waste of time and a terribly unattractive quality. Nothing good comes from this, though I’m very confident that I have my weak moments where I’ve exhibited mean qualities. I don’t ever want people to say, “Oh, you invited Evans to the holiday party? She’s a huge asshole.” So, in an effort to steer clear of Negative Town, I’m going to smile at others. I’m going to resist the urge to get crabby in the line at the grocery store. I’m going to ask the barista whose busting their butt making 19,000 coffees how she’s doing today.
Here’s to a cheery Chucktown holiday season!