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What To Do When The Holidays Aren’t So Happy


While the team at Punk Rock Saves Lives (PRSL) is busily decking the halls and getting ready to celebrate not just the holidays, but also our anniversary, we do know that this time of year does not feel as festive and joyful to everyone. For many, this season carries complicated emotions anchored to trauma and/or grief...and we’re here to tell you that it’s okay.


If traditional holidays aren’t so merry for you, here are some ways to approach the season that might help you navigate a very difficult time of year.


Cherry Pick What Works for You

If you enjoy certain aspects of the holiday season while others bring you misery, embrace the things you love and do away with what you don’t! The holidays as we know them are filled with traditions pulled from different cultures and different time periods; there is absolutely no “right” way to celebrate the season!


Decorate, or don’t. Exchange gifts, or not. Have a social/familial gathering, or avoid them. It is all up to you what you want to participate in, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.


Make Your Own Holiday

Not really a fan of traditional holidays, but still want to do something? Make your own holiday and traditions!


In 2018, a child in New Zealand invented “Wolfenoot”, a holiday where a wolf spirit brings gifts to people who have been kind to dogs and is celebrated on November 23rd. This holiday was embraced by people worldwide!


If current holidays aren’t working for you, ignore them and make your own. After all, every holiday started in a similar way!


Spend the Days in Reflection

If celebrating isn’t the right fit for you, but you’d still like to observe the holidays, consider embracing a quiet holiday season where you can reflect on whatever you need. Whether that’s remembering those you’ve loved and lost, working on personal development, or whatever it looks like for you, taking the time to acknowledge your feelings is always good.


Consider scheduling a therapy appointment for a little additional support while you’re digging into difficult emotions.


Remember: It’s Also Okay Not to Acknowledge the Holidays!

You don’t need to feel obligated to participate in something that isn’t right for you. Ever.


If the holidays are not comfortable, you don’t have to observe them! Go about your day like normal, decline invitations without feeling pressured to provide an explanation, and do what feels best for you.


Even though this time of year is difficult, remember that you are not alone. If you need help, please be sure to check out our mental health resources, and if you need connection, our peer support group is always ready and waiting.

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