‘I couldn’t think of anything back then and just had to have a drink when they all left for their respective homes. I mean, I didn’t feel like going to my Mom’s. It was all too depressing after Dad died.’ Karan, 25 recalls how holidays didn’t feel like a boon when he was in college.
Not all of us are happy about holidays, especially Winter Holidays. Though the snowfall and celebrations are what most people are looking for, sadly not all have social groups to celebrate this time of the year.
‘I used to light up the house so that I wouldn’t feel alone. With my Naani (grandmother) always in need of care, I felt guilty of going out and partying. My friends would call, but she was the only one I had since my parents..were.. I mean, they .. met with an accident.’ Bhavya, 35 decided on staying single to look after her grandmother. Holidays aren’t one of the best memories she has, as her parents passed away a day before New Year five years ago. Even so, she watches old films with her Naani during holidays to maintain the spirit.
‘I stopped going to Church when Toby was born. I couldn’t possibly take all 6 children by myself. John wouldn’t help me anymore. He changed after losing that job. Coming home late, stinking of liquor, I knew the time had come when I had to take up a job. He blew up all our savings. I started working night shifts in that sewing factory near our place. It’s a bit hectic, but when I see that smile on Mia’s face after opening their presents on every Christmas, I don’t feel tired anymore.’ Lily, 40, chose to finally take charge of her life instead of crying over what had happened. Whether or not, her husband decided to keep up with the change in Lily’s life; she couldn’t seem to care less.
Why this happens, though?
Some reasons cause sadness around holidays, also known as, Holiday Depression. It can be due to an excessive number of commitments that we end up making to everyone around us including our office colleagues, let’s say for that party they’re throwing on the same day that one might have to attend a wedding on. It can be challenging at times when one doesn’t have social groups around holidays, after all lacking those people with good vibes aren’t precisely what one needs around this time of the year.
Any recent trauma or loss of loved ones can also be a cause for depression around this time. People with financial troubles face challenges to cope up with the celebrations, which may even increase due to societal obligations, such as to attend several parties or maybe, also to host a few.
Stressful situations, like meeting deadlines as it the closing month for the entire year can also lead to excessive alcohol intake, which in turn is another cause for depression in the long run.
Then, Why not try this?
- Self-care is one of the essential aspects while coming out of depression. One needs to spend time with self, rewinding all the good memories. While doing this, I always look at my ‘Happy Board’- one which has all my good memories, that picture form Nainital trip with my school friends, my best friend’s birthday, the first time I learned to use a walker, the first time I fell from my walker and many more. Just to remind me of how grateful I am. Going for a new haircut or a soothing hair and foot spa might help a bit to calm.
- Joining a group of shared interests, such as a book club, or a dance class may also help as some of these give additional discounts around holidays. There are always new opportunities of making friends at such places. During last spring season. I joined a Zumba class. Getting to know new people and finding something common to connect with proved a good change for me, with all the extra chatty sessions at the end of every class.
- Going for counseling sessions is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, acknowledging your problem gets one out of the denial phase, to be able to work on it. One can also choose to participate in social support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Kabir, 38, chose to consult a psychologist for his anger issues. Knowing that you aren’t the only one suffering from the same problem comforts your inner self.
- Limiting yourself to your room doesn’t always help. Watching those same four walls everyday made me feel sad. So, I decided to ask my sister to paint them for me. Sometimes, you need to go for a small stroll, watch kids playing and giggling in the park and get your feet drenched in Sally’s dog poop just to realize what Earth feels like.
- Remember, you’re not responsible for all the work in this world. Sharing your responsibilities and dividing the work to be done amongst your group or family will only help. How good it would feel if one has to host a party and every family member is in charge of a different thing. Leela aunty, for example can take charge of the decorations while Neena and her mother could decide on the venue. Jai or Nitesh could bargain and plan with the caterers, given how big foodies they are.
- Phototherapy is another way to cope with depression. Exposing yourself to bright, fluorescent lights for 30 minutes, helps a good deal. Jia used some really bright blue shades to heal her throat problems, by looking at them every day for almost seven days in a row.
- Don’t forget to set up realistic expectations for yourself. Instead of comparing your celebrations with that of your neighbours and friends, focus on what you can do to make it best for yourself. For instance, my neighbours plan the best parties in our colony. Now, I may not be good at that, but no one can surely resist my homemade berry jam or the guitar played by my sister. So, they may be good at something but we also have our own qualities. Acceptance is the key.