Holiday Madness – How to Keep It Together

It’s the holiday season once again. The food, the gifts, and the Christmas tree occupying one corner of your home or apartment are all external manifestations of it. It’s a time when families come together once more. But one phenomenon of this time of the year is the holiday madness. This seems to be a time when tempers and anxieties seem to be at their highest. All of a sudden, a lot of people are bearing the weight of the world.  People are testy and edgy and relationships that worked on compromise and tolerance (forget love) can turn downright unbearable this time of year.  Tactfulness is forgotten and people blurt out the wrong thing (even if they didn’t mean to) or may misinterpret a word because they’re being sensitive. Why are they sensitive?  Because they’re frustrated, disappointed, stressed out, tired, and lonely. They compare themselves to their seemingly successful friends and family members. The see themselves as failures in a world that measures success by how much money you’ve got in your bank account, the size of your house, or if you drive a Lambo or a Ferrari.  The following are seven things to bear in mind to keep you sane and help refocus your perspective as we near the start of the holiday season:

  1. So, you’ll add a few pounds this month, who cares? It’s the start of the winter season anyway and in this time, everyone wears sweaters.  This is the main reason the holidays are at the very start of winter, when people are all bundled up from head to toe for the next few months. They can’t see your flaws hidden under those layers of cashmere and wool.

  2. If you’re a Facebook or Instagram user, you’ll probably see pictures of happy families posing as if they’re all happy to be together and jolly.  What those pictures don’t show are the innumerable foibles such as the time the father lost his job a month ago and since then, hasn’t been re-employed, the husband and wife that yelled at each other a few days ago, the excessive spending on holiday travel and gifts that even the money for the repair of the kitchen sink was used up, or the family dog that was run over by a car a couple of weeks ago. You may fawn at the picture of the sleeping newborn baby, but you don’t see the postpartum depression and the crying spells of the mother for the entire past two weeks. Photos may only show a split second cosmetic version of reality and are NOT a mirror of reality. Some may reveal a small version of the truth but not the whole of it.

  3. If you are not in a relationship and feeling lonely, just remember that it’s oftentimes better to be alone than lonely in a relationship. Being happy is all in the mind. I firmly believe it’s you who makes you happy. It may look like being with a special person can mean happy times and memories. But those memories all come from our mind. When you were young, things such as biking or buying toys at the toy store with your big brother made you happy or camping out with your dad and siblings gave you unforgettable happy memories.  The happiness you feel comes from within and those memories also come from you. You, or to be more specific, your mind, are the one creating your happiness. No one else does. You can be happy alone just by remembering pleasant memories which may even evoke more feelings of happiness than remembering moments with that “special” one who abandoned you.

    But I digress. When you are single, at least, there’s the excitement of the chance of meeting someone at any time. Being single also means that there’s no need to spend the holidays with your partner’s crazy family. You can spend it instead with your own insane family. You can also spend most of your holiday time with friends or even on your own doing your own thing and live an experience no one else can.

  4. Try to have a low-key type of celebration if this year’s been rather awful and has left you tired, exhausted and down and you’re not particularly in a celebratory mood yourself. You can actually exploit this to your advantage and go dark yourself if you want. Indulge yourself. Watch movies, read books, eat pizza, ice cream, chocolates and when the New Year rolls in, say “Good riddance!”  You can then begin the year with a clean slate that hasn’t been dampened by disappointment or sadness with lots of promise down the road.

  5. Who says you need to celebrate New Year’s Eve outside the home? Inviting a couple of friends over for some cocktails, home-cooked meal, some games, and good conversation might be a heck of a lot more fun. However, if you’re the type who loves to go out and have got someplace fun to go anyway, then, go for it. To each his own.

  6. There are time when the holiday season brings out the best of humanity. If you disdain holiday travel due to the bumper-to-bumper traffic and the busy people-filled airports. Try to do something kind to others. Usually, it’s the little things that matter most, such as assisting a mother in carrying a car seat to her gate, or giving up your aisle seat to a really tall person. This generates a lot of good will, can cause a positive butterfly effect, and make you also feel better inside. Who knows? The positive energy you started might just come back to you many times over.

  7. If all these come to naught, remind yourself that it’s just two weeks. And what are a couple of weeks more in a year anyway, huh? Besides, after two weeks, airline tickets to the Bahamas will be 30% percent lower.