Male presenting person sitting sad and alone during the holiday season (Getty Images/Drazen Zigic)
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” – Charlie Brown.
Feelings of loneliness are common for the majority of Americans during the holiday season. This one’s for the people who don’t love the holidays, no matter what the reason may be. Your feelings are valid and you are not alone!
The best part, and arguably the only good part, about midwestern winters is the beautiful fresh layer of snow it brings. As soon as the first flake fell to the ground, my friends and I would be at our neighborhood sledding hill with our tubes, sleds, or anything we could fit on, and race down the hill until the perfect snow looked more like mud.
There are few things that I looked forward to more than Christmas as a kid. The season was always so full of joy, love, and laughter. As I grew older, the warm and fuzzy feelings of the holiday season began to fade. Sledding down a hill turned to trudging through a blizzard to get to class. Drinking hot chocolate in a warm Christmas sweater turned into a 4th cup of coffee before 9am in the clothes I’ve been wearing all week. A time of joy, love and laughter soon became a time of anxiety, loss, and sadness.
Loneliness during the holidays
The holiday season isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year. In the winter season, many individuals (37%) suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder which can make it difficult enough to find joy, and for some, the holiday hustle and bustle can exacerbate that. For many people, the holidays are a reminder of those they have lost and voids that have been left in their lives. 55% of Americans are experiencing the holiday blues this year and more than one in ten people report extreme feelings of loneliness this time of year.
“…55% of Americans are experiencing the holiday blues this year and more than one in ten people report extreme feelings of loneliness this time of year.”
The sadness of the season affects many people, though some feel it at higher levels than others. This year, Gen Z has reported the highest levels of loneliness at 75%. LGBTQ+ identifying people report higher levels of loneliness this time of year. 76% of LGBTQ+ Americans experience the winter blues and are more likely to cite poor relationships with family which can be identified as a causality of the 33% of LGBTQ people who struggle with substance abuse this time of year. Singles and those who don’t have a family to share the season also report high levels of loneliness (65%).
“…76% of LGBTQ+ Americans experience the winter blues and are more likely to cite poor relationships with family…”
Two feet in cozy socks sitting comfortably in front of a blurred out Christmas tree. (SOL DE ZUASNABAR BREBBIA)
Coping with seasonal blues
The holiday season is a time when many are expected to set aside whatever may be going on in their lives, put a smile on their face, and enjoy the “most wonderful time of the year”. In a post pandemic world, we know that we have to be intentional about how we spend our time and what we put our energy toward. If the holidays aren’t your thing, that’s okay. You don’t have to apologize for not enjoying the holiday season and you don’t have to have a specific reason for your dislike. You should however, find ways to take care of yourself and your wellbeing throughout the season. Self care can be a nice way to indulge in yourself and find joy in the season. Here’s what helps me:
1. SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK
Social media around the holiday season can be a very toxic space. Being constantly reminded of the holiday cheer that you don’t feel can be draining. I like to ease up on my social media use this time of year.
2. READ A BOOK
In the many hours a day that are saved not scrolling through Instagram, I like to pick up a good book. It provides a good distraction as well as an opportunity to learn and grow and find comfort in the season.
3. SPA NIGHT
I’m convinced, there is nothing that exfoliation can’t fix. On the worst days, washing my face and completing my skin care routine always puts a smile on my face. Don’t forget to moisturize!
4. WATCH A MOVIE
It’s hard to escape the marathon of holly jolly Christmas movies, but there are quite a few options that tell diverse stories. Click here to see a list of diverse Christmas movies to watch this season! Maybe there will be one that resonates with you this year.
Throughout this holiday season, and the seasons to follow, I invite you to prioritize yourself and your mental health. Even while the world tells you to be happy and enjoy this Christmas season, you are allowed to feel differently. Christmas is not a good reason to put your own mental health and wellbeing at risk. You are not a Grinch or a Scrooge, you are not a Debby Downer, and you most certainly are not ruining the holiday. You are human with feelings and emotions and are allowed to feel those feelings, even during the most wonderful time of the year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kaya Hill is a marketing intern at DEI and You Consulting.
Her passion for DEI work lies in the many experiences she has had where DEI was clearly needed but never utilized.
She has received multiple awards and recognitions from her University for her writing and has presented research in numerous conferences. She hopes to continue in the field of DEI and eventually become a
Chief Diversity Officer of a law firm.
The importance and benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion are undeniable. Partner with DEI & You Consulting to unlock your company’s potential for all your employees to thrive.
Contact us today to learn more about our consulting services or our workshops: www.deiandyou.com
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