Navigating the holidays alone

4 ways to navigate the season, and find joy and perspective

The following content is one piece of a six-part holiday-focused module produced by Lexipol’s Cordico wellness team. If your agency uses the Cordico wellness app, you can access the on-demand complete module in the wellness toolkit. If your agency does not have Cordico, learn more about how this mobile, confidential app can help your agency with a variety of wellness-focused solutions.

"If the holidays feel a little overwhelming this year, remember that it is just a few weeks or days," writes Zemlok.
"If the holidays feel a little overwhelming this year, remember that it is just a few weeks or days," writes Zemlok. (Photo/Getty Images)

Sometimes the holidays are not what we have always been sold in movies and pictures online, full of family, laughter and parties. Depending on what is going on in our life and what our work requires of us, we might be spending much of this time or a special day or two alone.

If you are recently divorced, have lost a loved one, have recently relocated, or do not have a significant other or family to spend the holidays with, the holiday season can feel daunting and difficult. If the holidays feel a little overwhelming this year, remember that it is just a few weeks or days. You can successfully find your way to the other side of this season by ignoring the usual pressures and expectations, and very thoughtfully deciding how you want your time to look.   

Here are four things you can do to help make the holiday season enjoyable, or at least tolerable:

  1. Invest in you. Many people spend the holiday season focused on doing things for other people and end up exhausted. If you don’t have others you’re expected to include in your plans and you don’t have to focus on meeting the expectations of other people, consider using the time to practice some good self-care or even investing in some personal development you can never find the time for.  
  2. Invest in others. No matter your situation, there are always going to be people less fortunate than you are. The holiday season opens many opportunities to help those in need, and these can be a great way to develop some perspective and even have fun. Volunteering your time, donating money, or contributing gifts can be great ways to feel good about yourself and help others. There are lots of ways to help.
  3. Practice gratitude. Taking even just a few minutes each day to think of things you are truly grateful for can be a great way to improve your mood and outlook. Research has shown that keeping a daily gratitude journal can improve your health and reduce feelings of loneliness. To get started, take some time each day (maybe in the morning, in the evening, or both) to think of three things you are genuinely grateful for, and write them down.
  4. Hang in there. Although the season may seem daunting, the holidays are really just a few days; they’ll be behind you before you know it. They can mean whatever you’d like them to, so choose your perspective and where you want to focus. Maybe this can be the year I tried something new, the year I invested in me, or the year I went all in to help others. Approach this time of year with a lot of self-kindness and self-care. Soon everyone will be focused on self-improvements in the new year – and you may be the one who has a head start!

Find the complete module on how your first responder family can successfully navigate special occasions and the holiday season in Lexipol’s Cordico wellness app.  

Read more from Dr. Rachelle Zemlok on the Cordico blog:

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