How to Combat the Holiday Blues
Contributing Author: Stephanie
Some people wait all year for the holidays, planning gatherings with family and friends months before in eager anticipation for good food and good company. Other people are not huge fans of the holidays for various reasons, whether it’s the large amount of money we spend on food, gifts, and travel, that grudge that you still hold against your great Aunt Emily that you have to see every year, or the lack of support you might feel around this time of the year.
The holidays can be a very emotional time for those of us who are going through hard times mentally or emotionally. Some of us are literally alone during the holidays, while others of us may feel very alone even when surrounded by family and friends. Because we see the holidays as a time for family, friends, and huge gatherings, being alone can feel even harder around the holidays.
One of the best ways to get out of that lonely mindset and find enjoyment in the holiday season again is to focus your energy on others, and what better way to do that than by volunteering!
The holidays are a great time to give back to our communities and help those in need. Many homeless shelters, food banks, churches, and other organizations are in need of extra volunteers as they prepare to serve holiday meals for those who don’t have a place to go. There are also many organizations that gather warm clothing for people who don’t have any, and toys for children who wont get any. Sometimes it is hard to get out of our own heads when we feel lonely and isolated, but by volunteering you can surround yourself with other great people, shift the focus away from your own problems for a bit, and feel great about helping others.
Looking back at my volunteering history, it is fairly clear that I tend to volunteer more in times that I feel lonely or incomplete. Some of my favorite volunteer experiences have been my work with Dr. Kelly and Pink Tent and teaching a weekly dance class for kids at a local community center. I enjoyed both of those opportunities so much because I was able to use skill-sets I already had to help organizations that I cared about. I really think this is the best-case scenario for volunteering, and fully believe that each of you could find a new niche by looking into volunteering at organizations that could benefit from your talents and interests!
If you find an organization that really stands for something close to your heart, you might decide to keep volunteering past the holiday season. You may absolutely love the people you volunteered with at the food bank for the holidays, and maybe you all agree to volunteer together regularly. Maybe you decide to start volunteering at your church or community center on a regular basis and find an entirely new community of people to be a part of. Volunteering could be a great way to meet new people and find a new community. The possibilities are endless!
If you are feeling alone this holiday season, I urge you to get out and volunteer. Helping others will make you feel like you have done something important—because you have—and it will get you out of the house and socializing with some like-minded people who may also be having a hard holiday season. No matter where you are, there will always be a place that could use an extra hand. Go out and find the cause that speaks to you, and join it because you can never feel bad about volunteering!
About The Author:
Hi Everyone! My name is Stephanie. I was diagnosed with HSV-2 in April of 2014 when I was 22 years old. Right now, almost three years later, I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at Purdue University. I recently completed my MA in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado where I explored the role of stigma in the process of disclosing a genital herpes diagnosis. With that said, if anyone is interested in reading what I discovered in my project, I am happy to share that with you! I plan to continue advocating for our community, as well as studying the social factors that influence sexual health in order to understand how we can create a world that is easier for people diagnosed with STIs. I really enjoy writing for the Pink Tent community and am excited to be able to share some of my experiences and thoughts about living with genital herpes with you all.