Social distancing, isolation, smaller celebrations, restricted travel, vaccines, crazy election drama:  there are so many things happening right now that this is way far beyond any sort of normal holiday season.  You might be by yourself this holiday, maybe you will only be with your significant other, spouse, or immediate family.  You might be rebellious and have your normal Christmas celebration (at least as normal as one might have). 

What are your options if you are by yourself?  As someone who has had a history of severe depression that has lasted for years, the thought of spending the holidays alone can bring up a lot of mixed emotions.  If you feel like you need help, you should probably contact a professional and get the help you need.  Other than that, is there a friend or family member you trust well to listen and help you think through what you are dealing with? 

Sometimes, we might just need a small distraction to get us out of our mind.  This could be a good opportunity to binge watch a show or movie series that you have been putting off for a time that is less busy.  This can be a slippery slope.  Sometimes, a binge watching extravaganza can keep you inside and actually not help at all.  So at the end of the day listen to you gut.  This is just one idea.

Is there a book you have been dying to read and you have kept saying you do not have time?  Well, maybe you could pick that up now.  Blast through that book!

Have you tried to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances that you have lost touch with?  Maybe this could be a good time to reconnect with these people.  Try to schedule some video chats to just talk and catch up. 

Is there a friend or family member you could video chat with?  Although you might feel like everyone is busy, when you are down it seems pointless to reach out to people, but if you do reach out to people, have faith that the right person will respond. 

Going out for a dinner and movie.  Take yourself out on a date.  This can be a lot of fun.  No compromise!  You go wherever the f*** you want. 

Is there a hobbie you have been dying to try but you have not had time?  You could get started now!  It is fun and refreshing to start something new.  Stretch yourself!  Learn new skills, and it does not have to be job related.  Something that you just want to have fun.

Another concept that other experts recommend is some form of meditation practice.  Meditation can be really hard and abstract for people to understand, so keep it simple.  You do not have to become a monk.  Start searching YouTube for different guided meditations and give it a try.  You could also just put on some meditation music and set a timer for five minutes.  There are also some good guided meditations available on audible as well.  So just explore, try different things, and keep trying until you find something that fits you. 

I hope you can walk away from this feeling empowered.  This holiday season does not have suck.  Have fun, do your best, and end the year strong.