(Photo by Selma Komisky)
A Season of Solitude: What to do When Christmas Blues Hit
By Jehn Kubiak
“Christmas time is here / Happiness and cheer / Fun for all that children call / Their favorite time of year.” Out of all the lines in A Charlie Brown Christmas, that’s the one I’ll never forget. Indeed, Christmas is a time of cheer for many. I know several who decorate their homes and string their lights before Thanksgiving because seeing all the decorations brings them that much joy.
As a Christian, Christmas has been a time I look forward to because it’s a great reminder of all the good work Christ has done for us. Especially this year, when we’re in a time of uncertainty like many have never faced before. Acknowledging Christ’s birth helps me realize that God has things in control when everything feels like it’s out of control.
However, despite the peace I feel, I know others succumb to inescapable holiday blues. For some, Christmas has been a season of loss––whether that’s familial, career, financial, or even the loss of something that “should have been.” Although California has sunny weather pretty much throughout all winter (with the exception of a few rainy and cloudy days), other parts of the country still see typical December weather: grey skies, thunder, and rainstorms. None of that helps lift one’s spirits, by any means, unless you’re an introvert who loves curling up with a good book by the fireplace when storms hit.
All that to say, the “holiday blues” are very real; winter weather definitely doesn’t help, nor does holiday cheer when all you can think about is how happy others are when you’re feeling the complete opposite. I’ve definitely felt those feelings during a different season––summer––and understand what being stuck in that rut feels like. Nothing anyone says to you helps, and even curling up with a good cup of coffee doesn’t cure the ailment.
So, what does one do when no amount of holiday cheer helps?
I spend time in solitude.
In my recent “blues season,” I took that solitude time, and it changed my life in more ways than I could imagine. Deleting my Instagram helped me stop feeling the need to post things that made others think that I wasn’t actually a ditz (although I’m sure nobody thought that except myself) and was my first step away from people-pleasing. After that, I took phone calls from only a couple of close friends and didn’t hang out with anyone in person. Was it lonely? Yes, but after a while, I realized how desperately I needed that alone time to figure out my feelings. Before, I would become jealous of those who had everything they wanted in life because I was chasing after my goals and constantly felt like I was falling flat on my face in the process. After, I realized that I compared myself to other women way too frequently, and I was doing way more than “just fine.” Lastly, getting a ton of self-care time (journaling, swimming, going on long walks) was very therapeutic, and not once did I feel bad about holing up at home (or in my car, in-between shifts at my various jobs).
Especially in a world where social distancing is now the norm, solitude may not be such a bad idea. Taking time for yourself allows you to have that space to let go and feel everything, whether that’s through a good cry session or a quiet morning of journaling. It allows you to be away from all the super bubbly people whose happiness might keep you wondering about “what’s wrong with you” and why you can’t just “feel better already.” It’s a place where you can just be yourself and not worry about impressing others.
Yes, this is a season where everyone gathers around a Christmas tree and opens presents. A time where families who spend so many days apart can finally reconvene. But with the number of holidays in a person’s lifetime, taking one for yourself isn’t the end of the world, and it can help set a good tone for the upcoming year.