the holiday blues


This time of year the days all morph together, leading me to not know what day it’s been for the past week. Not that I’m complaining. But seriously, what the F day is it?

My city’s a ghost town. Friends have vacated Toronto to visit family outside the city, to spend time with loved ones or to just enjoy some much needed time off at a destination other than those forced upon them by familial ties and connections. The halls in my condo are empty, other than the plethora of red-hued florals overtaking them, a festive vibe that might be slightly over the top but at least adds some life to the seemingly lifeless building. The streets are Vanilla Sky eerie, with nothing in sight but the odd bus and streetcar trailing across west King West, carrying no one but the driver. ‘Tis the season known as the holidays. And it’s no wonder that it’s anything but that for many of us.

A simple log-in to any social media forum and we are sprinkled with flurries of photos of the perfect dinner tables, the perfect apps and apperitifs and over-the-top meals to be feasted on amongst the bestest of friends and closest of kindred spirits. We see friends and fams donning matching onesies, sweaters, and smiles as they pose together to get the perfect shot, all sharing the exact same expression. No doubt one pre-called out, “Ok everyone, do a funny face!”

We’re taken for a cruise on acquaintances holidays from the check-in-at-the-airport status update (and the go-to Passport shot with all the travel accoutrement surrounding said shot,) to the to-be-expected ‘ready for takeoff with my faves’ image; emoji plane. Emoji bikini. Emoji palm tree. Followed by check ins at every enviable eatery, spa, shop…dare I go on? And so though we are meant to eat, drink and be merry at this festive time of year, life instead becomes far from a holiday. It becomes a showcase of what others have (or how they want us to view their lifestyle) and with that it becomes a reminder of what we don’t. And so, you find many a people stuck in the city, away from family and friends who start to avoid their feeds to avoid triggers to feel less than. And that, my friends, we call taking control.

We should know by now that ultimate happiness is being happy and comfortable with ourselves. To want nothing more than what we currently have. To be strong enough to give to ourselves and to share our triumphs and company with others, when it works for us. To accept our circumstances for what they are. To own our decisions on where we choose to be – or not to be – at any given moment. For those who are single, or who have recently gone through a loss (a breakup or a death) than the holiday season is a very difficult transitional period, and the online reminders of others, sadly have the effects of highlighting those losses. But others aren’t posting them maliciously. So if they are hard for you this year, then simply avoid them. Log out. Take a social media break until you’re ready to see these images without them rocking your psyche and inner turmoil.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling down and hibernating over the alleged most ‘festive time of the year.’ Just take care of you the best that you can. Reach out to friends or family if you need a little TLC, and wish the best to those who seem to be relishing in the season. Because I can guarantee you, the ones celebrating the most this year have likely suffered in the past, or will suffer in the future. That’s how life works. There are many ups and many downs and we never know when they’ll come effect us. So don’t be jealous. But instead be happy and grateful that though you’re suffering, there are happy go lucky people who can bring you back up.

And know this. Staying in and hibernating is all well and good, but get yourself out for a walk, even for a half hour every day. Shower. Have some sort of a routine. You need this so you don’t get too comfortable; so you don’t fall into something darker than the holiday blues.

Happy holidays, and keep that head of yours held high. Or in front of Netflix. Whatever does the trick.

– Jen

Photo credit.

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