How To Get Through The Holidays During Midlife
If you’re a woman in midlife and you find that you’re not looking forward to Christmas this year, you may be experiencing one of these common situations for women our age:
- Your kids have moved out or are spending the holidays somewhere other than home
- One of your loved ones - perhaps even your spouse - has passed away
- You’re feeling disconnected from your spouse
- You’re going through or have recently finalized a divorce
- You’ve realized you’re getting older, and it scares you
- You’re tired of the holiday rush and how commercialized Christmas has become
Even if your reasons for feeling blue aren’t on the above list, but you’re still depressed, just know that your feelings are valid. There are thousands, probably millions of other women in midlife who feel just as you do.
The good news is you can learn to cope with these negative feelings with just a few simple strategies. Keep reading to learn what those are and how to get through the holidays with a positive attitude - and dare we say it, joy - during midlife.
5 Things You Can Do To Find Holiday Joy During Midlife
Below are 5 things you can do to find the joy you’re lacking this holiday season during your midlife.1. Take Time For You
Remember to take time for you this Christmas. Find an activity (art anyone?) that brings you peace and happiness, and schedule yourself a few hours to enjoy it amid the holiday hustle and bustle.
The activity can be soaking in the bath tub, savoring your first cup of coffee nice and slow, or cozying up with your favorite book or TV show. It can be anything, as long as it makes you feel good and helps ground you. (art anyone?)
2. Switch Up Your Holiday Traditions
If your old holiday traditions are making you feel sad or stressed, switch them up! There’s no law that says you have to bake the same desserts or go look at the same Christmas lights every year. Come up with something fresh and fun that you can enjoy alone, or that you can share with your spouse. (art, anyone?)
3. Cut Back On Decorations
Social media has put a lot of pressure on midlife women to decorate their houses from top to bottom for Christmas. But at the end of the day, there’s no need for all that hoopla. Most of the time, it just makes a big, impersonal mess.
If the thought of decking your halls with boughs of holly is making you feel panicky, cut back on the number of decorations you put out this year. If you must decorate, choose items that you have a connection to, that have meaning. Or make yourself some small personal decor!4. Don’t Do Anything Forced
Don’t force yourself to do anything Christmas or holiday-related that you don’t want to. If it feels fake, wrong, or just silly, then give yourself permission to simply not do it.
5. Help Others Who Are In Need
The most authentic joy we can receive is the joy of giving to others. Consider taking time out of your holiday to volunteer at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter. Give money to your favorite charity. Call on a friend who’s sick or spend time with a lonely relative. Give a small, hand made gift to that person you suspect has had a hard year but hasn't shared much about it. Look outward for your joy this holiday season, and you’ll get it back in dividends.
As you bravely face the coming holiday, just know that there are other women in midlife who empathize with the feelings you’re having. Click here to listen to some of them discuss “The Holidays and Midlife” on the Visible podcast.
Mary H. said:
Thank you Sharon, for sharing these encouraging words. We didn’t even get a tree put up or presents wrapped this year.
I’m my 96 year old mothers primary paid caregiver. She has Alzheimers and has lived with us for the last eleven years. For the last five of those years, I’ve felt my energy and mental health decrease significantly.
It’s so nice to be reassured that sometimes it’s ok to not feel like we have to put on the ‘perfect’ Christmas!