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A student studying at Bean Around the World
December 19, 2019
4 mins read

How to sleigh the holiday blues

As the winter season wraps around, the days get shorter and our fingers get colder. Jolly Christmas tunes and cheesy festivities might be sugarcoating the reality of catching the year-end blues.

If you’re prone to wintertime sadness, you’re not alone. During a season associated with joy, it’s normal to feel just the opposite, and to count down the days until the lights come down. 

Despite what the billboards, Instagram stories, and your surroundings tell you, holiday sadness is common for many reasons. Let’s tackle these symptoms, one by one!

“I have chronic FOMO.”


‘Tis the season for family reunions, friendly gatherings, and cute Christmas dates—but your calendar is blank.

You scroll through your social media in hopes of finding someone to talk to, only to see Snapchat stories of your friends at a Secret Santa party. Ouch. Where was your invite?

This evolves into a spiral of overthinking. Maybe nobody wants to hang out with you. Maybe you’ll never get invited to a holiday party. Christmas? More like Christmissing out.


Snap out of it. Literally—get off Snapchat! Social media is a place where people display their best highlights, and it’s unfair to compare this to your reality. Instagram stories don’t usually display people feeling just as blue as you.

Hangouts start with action. What if your friends are waiting for you to make the move? Take initiative and shoot them a message—you’ve got nothing to lose!

Winter Break does not mean you have to attend parties every weekend. Do what you want to do, not what expectations tell you to do. It’s okay to ‘go into hibernation’ and curl up alone with some movies. You’ve worked hard all term—you deserve to treat yourself to whatever makes you happy!

“I’m not ‘cuffed’.”


You’re walking down the snowy streets, and everywhere you turn, you see cute couples. Kissing each other on the nose. Holding hands through their mittens. Yuck, you think to yourself.

But wait, you’re feeling disgusted because you don’t have that special someone. You get a flashback to that time you got friend-zoned a month ago. As a single tear slides down your cheek, you wonder if anyone will ever ‘cuff’ you, and when you’ll get your New Year’s kiss.


It’s an illusion! Not everyone is in a happy relationship. There are probably five (or more) single pringles for every couple you see.

Love is something special. You shouldn’t feel the need to find someone to be with just because other people have that someone—that would hinder love’s value. Everybody operates on their own timelines, and your other half will come when the time is right!

It’s common to feel lonely during the Christmas season, but instead of feeling bad for yourself, focus on the positive! Don’t let the sadness of being single take away from the joy of spending time with those who are dear to you. Savour the present moment and be grateful for everything that is.

“All my friends are out of town.”


You were looking forward to holiday festivities with your besties, but left and right, they are boarding airplanes to visit home, go on vacation with their families, or attend some crazy ski camp. That leaves you in the city. All. Alone.

While your friends are out vacationing, you wonder what you could possibly do to make your friend-less break less lame.


Miss your friends? There’s no harm in calling them up for a quick phone conversation to catch up! Even just 15 minutes of chatter with a good friend can boost your mood. Perhaps also consider calling up an old pal you haven’t talked to in years to re-ignite that friendship. And if your family is in town, it’s the perfect season for quality bonding time!

Keep yourself occupied! Without friends around, you can still fill your days with fun and meaningful activities. Check out these fun Christmas activities and exciting holiday events you can fill your calendar with. And FYI—there’s no shame in taking yourself on a nice date. Solo time is a valuable way to practice reflection and self-love!

When in doubt, giving is one of the best ways to make your heart full. Anyone can do it, and it can come in many ways, shapes, and forms.

“I’m not ready for the year to end.”


It seems that the year ended before it even started. You feel sad that the new year is already approaching, and don’t feel ready to say goodbye to 2019.

Looking at your list of resolutions from January 2019, you give yourself a mental slap for only accomplishing half of what you had wished to. You’re suddenly washed over with regret for how your year could have been spent. Why does time go by so fast?


A truth we must accept is that time will keep moving forward, no matter what we do. So instead of dwelling on the past of what should’ve happened, focus on extracting lessons to make your next year better! Push away the regret and disappointment, and replace them with their future-looking counterparts: gratitude and excitement.

How do you ensure that this excitement doesn’t go to waste? Focus on building better habits and setting SMART goals to work on. And remember: every day is the start to a new year. It doesn’t have to be January 1st.

Love makes things better, so express your gratitude for the people you appreciate! (I have no shame in writing cheesy Christmas cards filled with hearts.) Journaling is also a great way to reflect and sort your thoughts. Time can’t slow down, but stopping to appreciate what you have will make your days feel brighter.

The blues got nothin' on you

If you continue to feel blue this season, remember that you’re not alone—being happy is not a requirement. Never feel shame in seeking comfort from your loved ones. And hey, if nothing’s cutting it for you, a fresh start is just around the corner in the New Year.

Cheers to you!