The Christmas commercials hit the air waves before the last piece of Halloween candy was devoured. By now, you are used to being bombarded by images of large extended families, sharing laughs, sharing meals and, of course, trying to keep the Santa myth alive for the little ones.
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there’s no escaping the message: Ho, ho, ho — ‘Tis the season for joy, happiness, laughter and giggles! Except, it is not true for everyone.
For some, it can be a season of overwhelming sadness.
Yes, you want to go to Aunt Helen’s and see all your cousins, but it is extremely painful to see their babies and toddlers and be asked that dreaded question, “When will you and Bob have a baby?” Or, maybe the fact that you are having problems conceiving is well known to your relatives. If that is the case, attending family functions means walking into the room with the proverbial elephant. No one talks about certain subjects in your presence. It’s awkward, to say the least.
So how do you cope? First, take comfort in knowing the ‘holiday blues’ afflicts large segments of the population — not just those struggling with fertility issues.
According to The Huffington Post, “Constant reminders of others’ happy seasons can additionally serve as a painful reminder of the happiness and love that’s lacking in our own lives. For this reason, the month of December can be a particularly difficult time of year for those dealing with family conflict, loss, break-ups, divorce, loneliness and mental health issues.”
Infertility only increases the feelings of stress and sadness. Below are a few suggestions to help you survive the holiday season. For more insights, RESOLVE has created an eight-page fact sheet called, Coping with the Holidays.
Avoid Facebook. You can predict what will fill your newsfeed this time of year; photos of children sitting on Santa’s lap, photos of children singing in holiday concerts at school, photos of children baking with Grandma, etc. By looking at how others are celebrating the season, it’s easy to be reminded of what you don’t have. Why put yourself through that? Be gentle with yourself and stay away from social media.
Plan a getaway. For budgetary reasons it might be impossible to spend all of December in Bermuda, but perhaps you and your partner could spend a few days at a bed and breakfast or even take a day trip hiking in the mountains. Reward yourself with some quality time together and take a break from the holiday frenzy that appears everywhere.
Focus on others. Spending your time with those less fortunate can be helpful. If you like animals, consider volunteering at an animal shelter. Not only will the dogs and cats appreciate the companionship, they will lift your spirits, as well! Food banks also need extra help during the holidays.
Stay healthy. It can be easy to over-indulge in food or alcohol this time of year but that won’t be good for your soul. By taking the time to exercise, eat healthy foods and get plenty of sleep, you will think clearly, react less emotionally and be able to get through the holidays with clarity.
Pamper yourself. We wrote about the importance of self-care in an earlier blog post and the words ring true especially during December. Pay attention to your feelings and needs and treat yourself to a long walk in the woods, a massage or simply meeting an understanding friend for coffee. Make the time to find pleasure on a regular basis.