I love the holiday season. For me, it’s a time to decorate, celebrate, and reverberate all the good cheer. Images of Christmas icons playing in snowy winter lands, the festive look of holiday lights everywhere, sickly sweet pumpkin –flavored coffee drinks at my local Starbucks, and the nonstop (mostly awful) holiday tunes never fail to put me in a good mood.
I also appreciate that this time of year elicits our compassion for the less fortunate, and inspires our natural inclination to give. The holiday season encourages us to do something good for others, give someone a much-needed break, or just be kind for no reason.
Another reason I love the holiday season is that it emphasizes the need to spend quality time with the people we love. I’ve learned that the hours spent at a large table sharing opulent food, wine, and conversation, are what we can truly be grateful for in our lives. I have really come to cherish the festive and sentimental nature of holiday social rituals.
Still, some years I found myself silently and secretly struggling during this time, especially the years before I met my husband. For some, the holidays are a sad and lonely time – especially when going through difficult period. The end of the year can also be a poignant time for us when it comes to self-reflecting on what we have accomplished in the past year. If we believe we’re not where we should be – whether what we desired was a relationship, a better career position, or even 15 pounds thinner – our inner critic can be quite vocal at this time of year.
Like many, I was stunned and heartbroken when I heard of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, just following the sad news of Kate Spade also choosing to end her own life. These high-profile celebrity deaths give us further proof that people from all walks of life grapple with the darkness of depression, even people who would appear to have highly successful, interesting, and meaningful lives.