When winter starts creeping in from doors, windows, and walls, the long, dark days evoke despair in many. The October nip in the air heralds the festive season, which extends till April in most cultures and communities. Melancholy enters the life of many; even those surrounded by families, friends, and colleagues. The despondency is overbearing to the single, closeted, or away from family. While the world around them rejoices, a gray mood ensnares them.
Holiday loneliness and sadness are recognized as mental health phenomena. Seasonal depression is real and exacerbated by the laughter, shopping, and conversations around. Not all feel the joy that festivities are supposed to bestow in our lives. The causes may be several – from troubled childhood to family dynamics, financial to mental concerns, emotional and situational aspects. The gnawing void can become overwhelming and make people withdraw into their shells.
There is ample advice for the suffering to cope with the winter blues. However, I want to talk about how we can help people feel wanted and bring some cheer to the lives of those who may not be in a celebratory mood. I recall a lonely Diwali when a friend unexpectedly arrived with candles as gifts and raw material that we cooked and then enjoyed as a hearty meal. It was a heart-touching gesture in a difficult time of my life. Once, a supposedly uneventful birthday started with a midnight visit by traveling companions. Several years back, a colleague took me to her house for the Diwali pooja and dinner with her family.
As families and friends fill the long winter evenings with plans for Christmas celebrations and New Year’s plans, it would be nice to think of someone who may be alone. Reach out to the loners and introverts, not just with words or greetings, but invite them over. Try to call them out for an outing or a special evening if you cannot include them in a family event. Compassion is an important aspect of any community. Touch lives in unique ways; be creative, be empathetic, and bring warmth.
Sometimes the lady of the house needs a break; plan something that allows her to enjoy with a potluck or a charming picnic. In nuclear families, even children get lonely with the adults busy with festival preparations. Involve them with games or special treats. Each person wants to feel loved, cared for, and to have wholesome memories. If you are alone and not bogged down by emotions, take a lead to bring other lonely people together. Initiate a terrace barbecue, long drive, rustic holiday, or go to the movies. Start a book or travel club or collaborative blog in the New Year.
I penned these lines to reflect the loneliness that can permeate our lives:
Winter wishes are snowing around
Do they make you warm and cozy?
Or do you shudder at the coldness?
Of empty prayers, shallow blessings,
For the hearts of men are hollow
Blinded to the pain of despondency
That Season’s greetings can never fill!
Have you ever reached out to someone who you may be lonely? Do you have any creative ways to bring the celebrations to the doorstep of the introvert, who is waiting for someone to include them in their circle? Not everyone needs to fit in, but uniqueness should not translate into isolation. Companionship and comradeship are gifts that are easily given.
Disclaimer: Any opinion expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not reflect the views of WriteFluence.in. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and WriteFluence does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.
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Categories: Reading Nook