It’s time to deck the halls and spread some holiday cheer. Or is it? This time of year while many people are busy celebrating, others are feeling down. If you’re childless or waiting to become a parent through adoption, the holiday season can be especially difficult. Every family gathering or festive party can be a painful reminder of your empty home and the missing piece of your heart. If you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss or failed adoption, it only increases your feelings of sadness and disappointment. So how can you get through the holidays without losing your mind? Here are some holiday survival tips as you wait to adopt.
Be Honest With Yourself and Others. If you’re feeling sad or depressed, don’t try to suppress those emotions. Instead, let them out. When people around you are happy and celebrating, it’s easy to feel guilty that you’re not. You may think you need to pretend that everything is okay when, in reality, you are only hurting yourself more by doing this. No matter what time of year it is, you are allowed to be human and feel however you need to feel. Give yourself permission to cry or be sad. If you aren’t up to attending that holiday party, it’s okay to decline. I also found it helpful to write my feelings in a journal — writing can be very therapeutic. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and feel better.
Talk to Someone. You may also want to consider talking to a trusted family member, friend, or counselor about how you are feeling. Holding everything inside only makes you feel worse. Seek out those who can lend an empathetic ear and offer words of encouragement. Sometimes just talking about your emotions can help raise your spirits and give you the relief you need to carry on with your holiday activities. I’m always amazed at how much better I feel after confiding in someone. It’s like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.
Take Care of Yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, try doing a little something for yourself. Maybe take a hot bubble bath, read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk, or get a massage. A little time away from the hectic holiday season to relax and unwind may be just what you need to improve your mood and outlook. The world around you may be moving at a frenetic pace, but that doesn’t mean you have to. We all need a break to recoup and regroup sometimes.
Do Something Kind for Someone Else. Often, when we reach out and help others, our spirits are lifted. There are many things you can do, so choose something that feels right to you. Maybe donate toys or gifts to a family in need, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or simply do a nice gesture for a family member, friend, or even a stranger. One time my husband gave a large tip to a waitress after she had told us she was saving money to live her dream of traveling to Australia. The tears in her eyes and look of gratitude on her face were priceless. Knowing we were helping someone in need gave us an incredible feeling inside.
Distract Yourself. When you are feeling overwhelmed, getting involved in a project or activity can help. While we were waiting to adopt, I painted and redecorated a bedroom. The project gave me something to focus on other than how I felt, and it was satisfying to see the work completed. If you’re not up for a big project, consider something smaller such as knitting, baking, organizing a closet, or creating a homemade gift.
However you choose to get through the holiday season this year, remember that this too shall pass. January will be here before you know it — and it may just be the year you finally become a parent!