December is one of my favorite months. It is a month filled with holiday cheer, time with loved ones and it is also my birthday month. I love all the holiday decorations, the music and especially the smells. Even with all these amazing things going on, December can also be a really tough month. Sometimes during the winter holidays, you may feel a little sad and you don’t know why. You may feel off personally, in relationships, or in your job. It is also a time you may really be missing important people in your life that are no longer there. The sun sets earlier and the darkness can make you extra tired. All of this is totally normal, the December blues.
I started to really experience this my first winter in California, away from my family. In the weeks leading up to Christmas everywhere I went I saw families and friends together celebrating. I saw moms shopping with their kids and dads freaking out trying to find the perfect present. It made me really miss my family and question my decision to live somewhere so far away. In a perfect world, I would go back home for thanksgiving and not leave until after new year’s. We all know this is pretty tough, it’s hard to pay rent when you are not working. I had to learn to accept that I was older and I had made a decision to start a life on the opposite side of the country from my family.
As hard as it was, I tried to spin this into something more positive. My limited time at home would be that much more special. I tried to look at it as a good sign, that I missed my family so much because of how close we were. My family kept on going with their traditions, getting our Christmas tree from our grandfather’s farm and decorating the house. My sisters would send me pictures of all of them together and as much as I loved to see them so happy it also broke my heart that I couldn’t be there.
This all seems to be a very sad post but I promise there is a point. When I did finally get home a few days before Christmas I was overjoyed. I wanted to spend every minute with my sisters, much to their dismay. We spent as much time all together as possible. We made cookies, watched holiday movies, and went last minute shopping. Now to the point of this post. It made me appreciate and love my family more than I ever had. I had never really experienced missing them as much as I did being 3,000 miles away during that first December.
Now every year when December rolls around and that sadness starts to set in, I instead get excited. I get excited for the time we are going to have together. I get excited to love and appreciate my family.
It is still hard. Every year I try to make my time home for the holidays as long as I possibly can. I have also discovered some other really great ways to kick the December blues. I make it a point to spend more time with friends. Instead of sitting home being sad, I make myself go out more than I usually would. I find a way to volunteer. Whether that is donating presents for kids in need or helping with a coat drive. And I also give myself more self-love. I acknowledge that it is okay to feel sad, it is okay to feel alone, it is ok to feel off. I may take an extra yoga class or two, splurge on some fancy holiday coffees or an extra glass of wine. One of my favorite things to do is a take a long hot Epsom salt bath, especially on colder LA nights.
This holiday season if you find yourself feeling a little blue I want you to know that its ok. Do something special for yourself, plan a holiday dinner with friends or a night to make ginger bread houses, and if its family you are missing, think of all the amazing things you can do next time you are together.
We all go through rough patches, that is human nature. But we aren’t alone in this. It is more common than you think. So, take this December and make it the best you can. If you get a little down, work to pick yourself up. Get in the holiday spirit and enjoy.