At a time when we are surrounded by holiday cheer, gift-giving, parties and end-of-the-year festivities, you’d think that everyone would be in the holiday spirit, filled with joy, happiness and warm fuzzy feelings.
It’s what we should be feeling.
It’s not what many of us are feeling.
In fact, the more I talk to people, the more I’m hearing what a difficult time of year this is for them. Many of them are sad. Depressed. Filled with regrets. Trying to muster through the rest of the year, because this year has brought so many challenges and heartache, they just want it to be over.
A colleague just shared with me she took her father off life support at this time last year. My friend lost his father and this is their first Christmas without him. Another friend lost her husband unexpectedly and is trying to get through another holiday putting on a false sense of cheer for her two young kids as her heart aches with sadness and grief.
They all talked to me this week about how difficult the holidays are for them. How they feel sad, depressed and empty.
And nobody is talking about it.
I’m going to talk about it.
I want others to know that they are not alone in their solitude, their grief, their sadness and their depression. There are others like me who understand what you are going through, and I hold a huge amount of compassion and understanding in my heart for what you are going through.
For people suffering from depression and anxiety or just healing from a loss they still haven’t gotten over, the holidays can be brutal. We feel even more alone. We may be without a loved one we miss terribly. We may be without a spouse or partner with whom we recently parted ways. We may be separated from our children this Christmas.
Or maybe we are just in a deep dark place of uncertainty that we can’t get out of.
Whatever it is, nobody should have to suffer alone.
You can normally spot the people who need you most at this time of year. If you look closely enough, you will see it in their eyes. Their lack of presence during conversations. Their quietness. The smile that doesn’t quite make it from their mouth up to their eyes.
Really see these people. See past what they want you to see. They are trying hard to cover up their need to feel connected and their desire to feel whole. They need you right now.
Buy them a coffee. Drop a thoughtful card or note on their desk or in their mailbox letting them know you are thinking about them.
Give them a hug for no reason.
Invite them to a movie or just to hang out with a bunch of friends so they don’t have to be alone.
Tell them you see them. And you’re there for them.
These people need you to get through the holidays.
Somehow January first will feel a bit different. Not as daunting. Not as oppressive. They will be able to breathe a small sigh of relief having made it through.
And they will have made it because of some small gesture by you, letting them know… that they are not alone.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Toby Israel