Sat | Mar 23, 2019

When Christmas is not the happiest time of the year

Published:Saturday | December 29, 2018 | 12:37 AM

Tuesday was Christmas Day and for many it meant family dinners, fun and a lot of good cheer. But for others, it was a brutal reminder of them having no one in their lives to share the day with, and even if they did it was a long-distance relationship.

Two years ago Latoya Bell, author and Christian Life Coach just wanted the season to be over and done with as quickly as possible. Speaking as someone who once dreaded Christmas because of how lonely she felt, she said she can now encourage those who are feeling the way she did.   

“After being married for seven years, my first Christmas being separated was like a nightmare. I was not used to spending Christmas alone. Thoughts of hopelessness and loneliness flooded my soul. I can truly say it was one of the worst feelings ever, but I now once again look forward to Christmas and you too can overcome,” she said.

The solution for Bell was changing her mindset about Christmas, seeing it as a season for giving love and taking the focus from self.

“If you have no friends and family to spend time with during this season, go out and be a blessing to others, volunteer your time or donate gifts to the less fortunate. Things like these will change your picture about Christmas because giving of yourself will leave you feeling blessed,” she told The Gleaner.

Having friends around, according to Bell, won’t necessarily relieve the loneliness as she said if there isn’t any inner peace about the situation, then they will be in no mood to be injected with the Christmas cheer.

Among the triggers that causes Christmas blues, said Bell, are partner being away from each other, financial challenges, and feelings of melancholy.

“Personally my Christmas blues was caused by being separated and then divorced, plus I was facing financial challenges. I was also not used to cooking a meal and having no significant other to share it with, while laughing and cuddling. Added to all of that, I was flat broke. I didn’t even have enough money to prepare a proper Christmas dinner, nor to buy others or myself a gift on my first Christmas as a newly-single woman. I had to embrace the reality of being single and not being able to afford what persons would view as a ‘bashment Christmas’, she said.

A practical Bell suggested facing the fact that you are alone and broke to boot and not reflect too much on what’s missing.

The solution for her was getting dressed and hanging out with friends, she said, adding that there first must be a desire to want to get over the blues.

The next step, she said, is realising that you are blessed regardless of your situation. The third stage is to embrace the great possibilities of your next Christmas being better, dwell on the positive, the things that are going good in your life and chose not to feel sorry for yourself.