2017 was a generally heinous year. Between the political blunders and the natural disasters, morale this year is so low you’d have to scrape it off the sidewalk. It’s almost 2018, and you can pretend that things will become rosier when the clock strikes midnight, but not so fast… depression and anxiety during the holidays actually statistically rises. It’s not just you—November and December are notorious for being an absolute mental-health-bummer-vortex.
But what if I said I could help make your holiday season just a little bit more bearable? Whether you’re dreading the family, feeling the effects of your singledom under the mistletoe, or scraping pennies to try and afford Christmas gifts for your brother’s kids, here are tips for surviving any unnerving holiday situation.
Around your Family
Family time during the holidays is nearly impossible. Maybe your mother is asking you why you haven’t met “the one” yet, maybe your Drunk Uncle is on a tirade about how communism is destroying the fabric of our society, maybe your sister just won’t stop reminding you how much better her life is than yours. Take a deep breath and…
Get out of the House
Volunteer, reconnect with friends from high school who are dealing with the same thing, explore your local bars sans fake ID, take the dog for a walk, or offer to pick up groceries—anything to get out of there.
Lend a Helping Hand
There’s nothing that’ll quiet Mom’s judgment down like offering to wash the dishes or whip up that pumpkin pie that she loves.
Take a page from Drunk Uncle and hit the liquor cabinet early and often. It’s the holidays, so no one will question your excessive eggnog consumption and it’s easy to hide a shot of Jameson in your morning coffee. Plus, it’s free and unlike in high school, you don’t have to fill the bottles back up with water.
Around your Drunk Friends
Staying home this year? The plethora of Friendsgivings and general sadness of those around you who didn’t go home for the holidays means that you’ll definitely be well-fed and well-boozed. The downside? A lot of drunk tears and liquor-motivated heart-to-hearts. Have no fear.
Just because you’re one of the orphans this holiday season doesn’t mean you have to participate in the debauchery. Feel free to turn down that umpteenth happy hour or cookie-decorating-and-champagne-drinking activity with friends and stay home with your cat watching holiday-themed movies with takeout.
Your friends might be getting drunk and embracing couch potato-dom during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Take this time to sign up for that workout class you’ve been too intimidated to try. Chances are, it’ll be emptier than usual plus you can smirk quietly in the corner when your friends are complaining about their holiday food babies.
Hey, Drunk Betsy won’t be nearly as annoying if you’re sobbing alongside her telling her how much she means to you, too.
If You’re Single
There’s nothing like the holidays to make you forget all about your Beyonce-inspired badassery. This season notoriously makes us single folk feel sad, lonely, and unlovable. Don’t let it.
… how much money you’re saving because you don’t have to worry about shopping for your significant other and how much mental space you’re saving to think about more important things than which scarf would look better with her complexion. Plus, you don’t have to meet anyone’s parents and you get free reign to kiss anyone on New Year’s Eve.
Buddy up with a Single Friend
Whether it’s a friend to take with you to holiday parties so you don’t get those pitying looks, a friend who can be your wing(wo)man at said parties, or a friend who you can just commiserate with when your brother-in-law asks for the hundredth time why you’re not seeing anyone, find yourself a safety friend and don’t let go.
Do you see a pattern here? Drink up to numb those feels until January 1st rolls around and you can make a resolution (that you’ll surely not keep) to find that special someone. Also, it helps with making out with strangers under the mistletoe—a privilege that your coupled friends don’t get the pleasure of experiencing.
If You’re Broke
There’s nothing like the holidays to make you feel like the opposite of a million bucks. Literally. Between the gifts and the outfit shopping, it can seem like your bank account won’t ever see the light of day.
It’s time to pull out Pinterest and get a’craftin’. Parents love a homemade gift and your friends might be annoyed, but it’s the holidays, so they won’t tell you.
Borrow & Bargain
Find a friend of a similar size and raid their closet for an outfit for your work’s holiday party. Not a borrower? It’s all about the discount designer stores like Nordstrom Rack or Saks Off Fifth.
Go for Two Buck Chuck and Kirkland brand hard liquor when drowning your sorrows solo. When you have a party to attend, you can easily turn those into sangria or punch and no one will know where you sourced the ingredients (I won’t tell anyone if you lie and say that Chuck is organic). Plus, the holidays mean there will be parties nearly every weekend. Make sure you RSVP “yes” to all of them and get your fill of free booze, honeybaked ham, and homemade pies.
If all or some of the above apply…
Take a Solo Trip
If the thought of having to face friends, family, and exes during the holidays makes your skin crawl, take this opportunity to have your Eat, Pray, Love moment. Pack your bags, plan your escape, and spend this holiday season on a warm beach somewhere in the middle of nowhere. That piña colada won’t judge you for your choices. Bonus points for an “I’ll-never-see-you-again” vacation romance.