Worried that your Christmas blues are getting out of hand? First, we offer you a reassuring thought: It’s normal to feel blah and less Christmas-y than others. For one, not everyone is in a picture-perfect holiday sitch—you may be away from home, you get easily stressed by the hustle and bustle of the season, or you’re just recovering from a breakup. James J. Jackson, author of In All Things...Moral Reflections And Decisions On Life Issues, attests to this: “Whatever the reasons for feeling sad during normally happy times, it is tough to get beyond it without despair.” This holiday season, we suggest a few comforting tips to pull you out of that emo quicksand.
Holiday Hitch #1: You miss your ex badly.
Beat the Blues: Use your would-have-been BF gift money to give yourself a treat.
If you used to feel guilty about spending too much for yourself when you could have showered your ex with gifts, now’s the time to think “Me, me, me!” Alison James, author of I Used To Miss Him...But My Aim Is Improving: Not Your Ordinary Breakup Book writes: “The holidays are always a tough time for newly-single girls, as commercial fanfare moves in for the emotional kill. Don’t let the impending holidays make the relationship more important than it really is.” Now, isn’t that a good reason to splurge on yourself and enjoy the season?
Holiday Hitch #2: You’re broke.
Beat the Blues: Be a frugal Santa.
Christmas on a budget will never be depressing as long as you can think of ways to celebrate without breaking the bank. Inexpensive gifts are all right to give; just make sure they don’t look cheap. Can’t afford to be a Santa to all your friends? Robin McGraw, co-author of Christmas In My Heart, offers a kind of lottery: “Instead of buying for everyone, suggest drawing names and putting a price limit on the gift. Or, you can draw names and make gifts.”
Holiday Hitch #3: I’m in a long-distance relationship.
Beat the Blues: Learn to transmit your charm across miles.
“By whatever means possible, you must find some way to recreate the satisfaction of the perks that close-contact couples take for granted,” says Caroline Tiger, author of The Long-Distance Relationship Guide. Do all that’s in your reach: phone calls, video calls on FaceTime, e-mails, text. Don’t rule out snail mail either—it still works, even that “little spray of perfume” trick. “Beware—the effect can be strong and immediate. One long-distance partner immediately booked a trans-Atlantic flight for a surprise visit, because he was so entranced by his partner’s scented letter,” Tiger adds.
Holiday Hitch #4: My boss is giving me so much work over the holidays!
Beat the Blues: Challenge yourself to go into superstar-employee mode.
It’s true: On top of all the holiday stress, work piles up faster this season and your boss seems to be breathing down your neck more than usual. You can still be in control by prioritizing and managing your time. “In your to-do list, be clear about which are the most time-sensitive and crucial tasks to be completed,” says Sarah Sutton, author of Relax And Make Your Stress Work For You. Do those crucial tasks first, then reward yourself with a shopping spree later.
Holiday Hitch #5: I hate Christmas stress!
Beat the Blues: Be at your most Zen and go for simple pleasures.
If you simply hate the hassle of shopping, wrapping, and cooking, consider taking the fuss down a notch by having less expectations this year. Why not go back to simple celebrations? “Often what we think are other people’s expectations are ones we conjure up for ourselves. Holiday activities of every variety easily become competitive sports, but often the only person we’re playing against is ourselves. If you no longer find the contest rewarding, quit for a year and see if anyone cares,” advises Elaine St. James, author of Simplify Your Christmas. This season, after all, didn’t start out as a sport.
Holiday Hitch #6: I come from a broken family that doesn’t spend Christmas together.
Beat the Blues: Pull a Mother Teresa and spread some good cheer.
It’s truly difficult to ditch the Scrooge act when the root comes from your family history. Still, you don’t have to deprive yourself of a proper celebration. If you can’t celebrate the holidays with your family, reach out to friends who are more than willing to welcome you into their home. Or, make the holidays more meaningful by spreading good old-fashioned cheer to those who could use some cheering up. “People who are sad at Christmastime often seem to focus on their needs and wants,” says Jackson. “Instead of dwelling on [your problems], find relief from sadness in helping someone less fortunate, or by focusing on the many blessings you have.”
Holiday Hitch #7: Malamig ang Pasko, and you have no one to kiss under the mistletoe.
Beat the Blues: Dance-break your way out of loneliness.
It’s party season, and that’s something definitely worth looking forward to! Like anyone on the lookout for a guy, never underestimate the great potential in finding a guy at the right chic gathering. If you’re not comfy diving into the crowd on your own, hang out with your girlfriends at parties. “It is well known that girls are fun to talk to at parties, but it’s also the easy, minimum-investment option,” says Shane Watson, author of Is It Just Me? The Modern Woman’s Survival Guide. So go ahead, take advantage of those parties this year—your longed-for Christmas gift just might be somewhere in the crowd.
This story originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, December 2010.
* Minor edits have been made by Cosmo.ph editors