How To Laugh Your Way Through the Holiday Blues
Did you know there’s no such thing as the holiday blues? According to the big book of therapeutic diagnoses, it doesn’t exist. There’s something called SAD – seasonal affective disorder – which sounds to me like the most contrived acronyms ever used to describe feeling gloomy around the same time each year. And get this, the so-called experts say after endless amounts of studies, more people report feeling “sad” in the summer as opposed to the winter, and the ones who do feel “sad” in the winter time describe feeling their worst in January and February. So there you go. Now you can feel bad about feeling bad.
But there are ways to shake off the holiday-blues-that-don’t-exist-syndrome and it starts with cutting yourself some slack. The holidays are a crazy time, not to mention expensive, not to mention anxiety-provoking, not to mention exhausting. And the person who declares they’ve finished all their holiday shopping by the first week in December, you probably shouldn’t talk to them until January. But here are some examples of how to laugh yourself through the holidays:
- Watch a funny holiday movie. There’s no getting around the fact that the holidays are approaching. Some of the typical favs are Elf, A Christmas Story, and Home Alone, but that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for movies that make you feel better about your life – not worse. Watch Happy Christmas with Anna Kendrick, Scrooged with Bill Murray, The Ref with Kevin Spacey and of course Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton. Laughter can be the best medicine if applied correctly.
- Go ice skating. Most adults, especially those who didn’t grow up in the north, aren’t great ice skaters. But there’s something child-like about this activity. Even if you just go to the rink, drink hot cocoa (with a splash of Baileys) you’ll find yourself chuckling at other people. And if you’re brave enough to give it a try, added amounts of humor will be had by all.
- Listen to the Chipmunks Christmas carols. If this doesn’t make you smile, you are in a coma. What is it about sucking helium that makes us giggle? Of course, listening to the entire album might be a little much, but you can change your ring tone to Alvin and the Chipmunks singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas and have a little grin for the month of December.
- Treat yourself to something nice. This should really be at the top of the list, but let’s face it, it looks bad to be selfish during the holidays. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t give a rat’s ass what others think, congratulations! Do it first and do it often. But if you have to work in a treat for yourself around the shopping, wrapping, baking and decorating, just add massage or shoe shopping to that ever-growing to-do list. You deserve it – even if you’re on the naughty list.
- Play fun board games. Now this sounds easy, but it’s not. You need to play games like Twister or Apples to Apples or Count Your Chickens. Do not play Monopoly or Risk! When you take property and send people into bankruptcy or war this creates a competitive atmosphere that can include the tossed drink and/or the silent treatment for the rest of the night. Proceed with caution, but have fun.
- Bake something yummy. And this suggestion comes with a side tip – do not diet during the holidays! Mental health trumps physical health. Plus your fat rolls hide so easily with sweaters. Besides, that’s what January is for. And when you decorate a cookie or make a dessert for the sole purpose of bringing joy to others, you score karma points. Not really, but I like to tell myself this.
- Throw or attend an ugly sweater party. There’s something about this the levels the playing field. You know that friend who always wears the trendiest or hottest outfit? Ha-ha, not at this party! Everyone looks equally ridiculous. And the person who doesn’t wear an ugly sweater because they’re too cool, gets sweater-shamed and sent to the corner. What fun!
- Become a Secret Santa for someone. Did you hear about the Secret Santa in Pennsylvania who paid off the overdue school lunch balances? So cool. It was $900, and a lot of people can’t do that, but a potted plant with a red ribbon on your nicest neighbor’s front porch that leaves them guessing for days and days – priceless.
Here’s the thing, it’s okay to feel a little off. Don’t let others tell you what you’re feeling is wrong or doesn’t exist. Hunker down for a few days and lay off social media. You’ll snap out of it, or the holidays will end, either way this too shall pass.
If all else fails, watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Dr. Seuss wrote this after feeling the holiday blues one year. Happy holidays!