Hello again, Y/N! Yeah, I’m sticking with the whole fanfic thing here. So, at least here in the U.S., winter holidays are fast upon many of us. Even if you do not celebrate a particular holiday, the trappings are all around: decorations and music in retail outlets, commercials full of red bows and jingling bells, movies and TV shows featuring holiday themes, and even for many folks either extra work time (customer service this time of year is no joke) or less work time than usual due to closures at your places of school/employment.
In other words, we are immersed. This can be a wonderful thing, in many ways—lights, good food, focusing on gifts and gratitude, and so on. For many others, it can be a remarkably stressful time of year. Many people find themselves feeling lonely, especially when comparing themselves against the happy-family-and-friends-perfection they find all over popular media. For those who have experienced trauma, grief, and loss around this time of year, anniversary syndrome can strike hard. For many others, the lack of sun and sometimes cold temps (here in the Northern Hemisphere at least) can result in Seasonal Affective Disorder, or even just winter blahs.
These things, Y/N, are not to be taken lightly. It’s all too easy to skim through your Insta feed or let your eyes glaze over back to back commercials chock full of picture-perfect joy. And yes, these moments of exquisite, sparkling, gift-wrapped happiness can indeed exist. But so can missing family and friends who are not there, dealing with illness or financial troubles, or feeling trapped in family events amongst those who are not accepting or gentle. Most people have some sort of stress that hits with the holidays and we can’t always see this in the perfectly curated social media feeds or too-bright smiles they show the world.
Bearing this in mind, please know that you are NOT alone in feeling alone, stressed, depressed, or any of it. And with this knowledge close to your heart and forefront in your mind, take time for self-care. I’ll repeat this again, Y/N…the holidays are not all fun and games so yes, TAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE.
Self-care does not look the same for any two folks, but it can be as simple as treating oneself to nourishing, tasty meals; taking time off work to sleep in or engage in activities that make you smile. It can be volunteering to help those less fortunate (and there are more than enough opportunities to fit a variety of personalities, physical ability, and talents). It can be re-reading that one book that always makes you smile, not taking phone calls from people you know will bring you down, not leaving the house if you’re feeling extra social anxiety, or taking a brisk walk even though there’s four inches of snow on the ground. Nobody knows what caring for yourself looks like better than you, Y/N, and I am giving you a permission slip to take the time you need to be the best possible you this holiday season and always.
Here’s wishing you all peace, joy, and good things now and into the new year!