Top 8 Things to Do for the Holidays When you are ALL Alone
Every year, around the holidays, there are countless social media posts talking about the loneliness many feel during a time that's meant for celebration. This is an amazing step. Something that wasn't as readily available a few years ago. Now, we can find articles about holiday anxiety, loneliness, dieting, and so much more, but only for traditional Western Holidays. When it comes to the less known holidays for other religions, or cultures, there isn't much content about the challenges faced by individuals during the holiday season. Individuals with anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and any mental illness, or challenge, might be feeling left out at a time when everyone is supposed to be there for you.
There are two types of being ALL alone, the choice kind, and the World hates you kind. I’ma be real with you all right now, sometimes, around the holidays specifically, it kind of feels like I’m ALL alone because the World hates me. This isn’t true, I know this, as I can hop on a plane and fly towards people that love me, but instead I choose not to. So, yes, it is a choice, but there are choices that we make entirely, and others that are kind of made for us. For example, if you’re going to get into fist fights with individuals you ‘love’, or will need to pop a few extra pills to survive then is it really your choice?
As many of you know, Eid is tomorrow, so Happy Eid everyone! And as many of you know, I do not celebrate Eid with other Muslims. No, I do not get into fist fights with other Muslims. For the past decade or so, Eid has not been easy for me. For me, Eid turned from a celebration to a day when there are far too many people, far too much touching, and food galore. All things that are incredibly triggering for me. Since I couldn't possibly explain why to every single person, I pulled away from the entire holiday. So much so, that for the past couple of years, I have spent the holiday entirely on my own, withdrawn from the Muslim Community.
This past Eid, a couple of months ago, was incredibly challenging. My youngest sister asked me if I had bought Eid clothes? She was incredibly happy with her two new outfits, and wanted to see what I was excited for. I wasn't sure how to tell her that I no longer actually celebrate Eid. The communal aspect of holidays is so large that you can't help feeling abandoned and alone when you're forgotten. You're forgotten between the crowds you might not be able to navigate, the hugs that might trigger, the new clothes that you might not be able to afford, the gifts that nobody gives you, the sweets that you might not be able to eat, and so much more that I'm missing. Millions of people feel like me. Millions of people feel marginalized during the holidays.
Initially I wanted to write about systems of oppression to keep in mind as you celebrate, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to send some love to those spending Holidays on their own and create a list of things they can do instead:
Take the Day Off. Even if you have no one else to spend it with today is a celebration.
Create your own ritual. Symbolism and rituals are a rite of passage and can symbolize a new beginning or an end. Do something that you don’t normally do, whatever that may be.
Be sad. You know what? If you need to be sad for a little while you do you. There’s a lot of pressure around the holidays for ALWAYS being happy, but many of us have had very negative experiences on the Holidays and being alone during such a time is sad. So let it out.
Food. Food is an integral part of celebrations around the world, make it a part of your celebration if you’d like. I just had a large slice of coconut cake topped off with Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.
Do Something fun on your own. This is your day too.. Watch a movie, go to a spa, on a hike, etc.
Remember what the Holiday is supposed to be about, and how you fit into it. Many holidays are structured around families and without those families it might feel like you’re just sad for a holiday you don’t even want. Figure out what works best for you.
Remember, you don’t have to spend it alone. Even if you can’t find others with the same passion for the Holiday, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get others to celebrate with you.
Have the time of your life. If you’re going to have an awesome time, why not today?
Happy Holidays Everyone!!! Eid Mubarak!!! Whatever you end up doing, do you.