How Holidays Leave Fabulous Feeling More Like Failures
For many, city living is at its finest during the holiday season. The usual hustle and bustle is further glamorized by the festive parties, larger than life decorations and crowds eager to soak in the joyful atmosphere.
However, for many single city dwellers, especially women, the season can be an emotionally trying time filled with expectations of romantic companionship. Idealized notions of romance during the holidays have developed a negative stigma for single women that may result in negative consequences, such as depression, anxiety and substance dependence.
"During the holidays we start to see more single women looking for treatment," said Jacqueline Dawes, founder and owner of Brookhaven Retreat, a premier holistic women-only treatment facility for emotional trauma and addiction. "The thought of going to a trendy holiday party minus one, spending New Year's Eve alone or balancing the season's plans, or lack thereof, is enough to create a need to find an escape in many single women. They are often so exhausted from the pressure of the season that all areas of their health, both physical and mental, begin to breakdown."
The three main triggers of holiday depression include relationships, finances and physical demands, according to the Mayo Clinic. A survey by the National Women's Health Resource Center states that two-thirds of women report depression during the holidays. Women in urban areas often feel like their lives and careers are running exactly as planned throughout most of the year, but when the holidays arrive and many gatherings revolve around families, couples and children, feelings of loneliness can become overwhelming.
Here are a few suggestions to help combat the holiday depression that many will experience this season.
-- Always have a clear plan that doesn't rely on others. Don't just wait for things to happen. Get out your calendar and fill it with things you have neglected to do but have felt positive about in the past.
-- Have a goal each day of doing 3 small things in the evening. One for you, one for your home and one for others.
-- Create rituals and traditions that are important to you. Holiday rituals do not mean you have to be the host. Be humble and courageous and let people know that you would love to be their guest. If you are the host, don't be above assigning your guests duties.
-- Don't be tempted by alcohol. If you feel lonely and sad, alcohol is never the solution. It doesn't minimize stress; it just numbs it for a while. Many harmful and dangerous things can happen when alcohol is involved, and sometimes people lose sight of moderation during the holidays.
-- Plan a trip! If you feel staying at home may be overwhelming, talk to your closest friends and plan a trip. This can be an excellent way to balance your life.
"All women, especially those who are single, need to manage their unrealistic romantic expectations during the holiday season," said Dawes. "The holidays are a wonderful time, but it is important to be sensitive to the societal, and personal, pressures the season can bring. Ultimately, it should be a happy and memorable time of the year for everyone."