The Holiday Season Isn't So Wonderful For Everyone And That's OK

The Holiday Season Isn't So Wonderful For Everyone And That's OK

Sometimes the holidays can cause more harm than good for people.

For many, the holiday season period that typically ranges from November up until January is probably one of best times of the year because it is filled with so much joy and happiness. I mean, how could you not be happy stuffing your face with turkey in November for Thanksgiving, and follow that with opening presents and spending time with your loved ones in December, and then end it by ringing in the new year?

However, the holidays aren't all fun and games for everyone. Especially those who suffer from seasonal depression, or any other mental illness that the symptoms may be more present during this time of year. It may also be difficult for people to get through the holiday season because they have experienced a recent loss in the family, so these feelings are more present. It will always be a challenge getting through these times without those you love and used to spend the occasion with.

Coping with the loss of someone we love is never easy, and the holiday season can increase these emotions. It isn't the same without those people in our lives, but it gets easier with time. You might not get over it completely, and that's perfectly okay because they will always have a place in your heart.

But in the midst of everything, it is important to cherish the good memories you spent together because you will never forget those happy days. Those loved ones that are no longer a part of your life have left their mark on yours, so embrace it and be thankful.

I know for me personally it isn't always easy celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas since my grandpa has passed away, but I remember that I am not alone in this. I have my family to support me and I have all the great memories of spending previous holidays with my grandpa and that makes me smile. I don't think it will ever be easy for me or my family to get through the holidays without him in our lives, but we just have to make the most of it and use it as a time to honor my grandpa's life because that is what he would want.

On the other hand, there are some people who struggle with seasonal depression and PTSD during these winter months because the weather is a lot colder and there is a lack on sunshine, so their symptoms are heightened and therefore it makes it strenuous for them to get through the holidays in a positive way.

No matter what the situation is, the most wonderful time of year isn't always so wonderful for everyone and it is important for people to understand that. Instead of criticizing these people for not being happier and embracing the season, we should offer support when it is needed and lend a helping hand. Showing that you care could be the greatest gift of all for some people who are truly struggling, just keep that in mind.

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What It's Like To Stay In Pittsburgh Over The Summer

What's there to do when our teachers are hibernating for three months?

It’s weird for me to think that some people don’t stay in Pittsburgh over the summer, if only because I haven’t gone home for any summer since I’ve been in college and I have no inclination to do so. There are plenty of reasons to stay: classes, research opportunities, jobs and internships, and some people find that they just don’t want to go home and find a reason to stay. Of course, even with all those incentives there are still some of you who will want to go home, wherever that may be, so hopefully I can clue you in on what it’s like over those three months.

To begin, Pittsburgh is absolutely gorgeous in the summer. You get a taste of it in the fall, and a whiff in spring, but wow, with the flowers and the trees in bloom, places like Frick park, The Point, The Waterfront, and Mount Washington are completely transformed in the haze of green and other colors. The second thing I always notice, around the third week in, is how quiet Oakland becomes. Walking around campus, you’re lucky to run into 8 strangers over the course of your day, although there are always a handful of stragglers in Hillman or Cathy. It feels nice, in an odd way; the campus feels much more personal, much more accommodating to you. And then, with the lack of people and stress from school, you start to branch out from Oakland and see more of the city, which is where the real fun begins.

We all know we go to the University of Pittsburgh, but honestly it’d be more accurate to say we go to school in Oakland. Campus can feel pretty big during the school year, but Pittsburgh is a city of dozens of neighborhoods outside of the four or five that make up Pitt’s domain, and most of us stay orbiting around specific buildings that are hubs for our majors. I didn’t really start understanding the dynamic of larger Pittsburgh until summer after my freshman year when I started to see comedy shows on a regular basis downtown, and it completely opened my eyes to the opportunities we miss every day during the school year.

I’m not trying to judge anyone: you’re lucky to see me outside of Hillman, Cathy, or my apartment during the school year. But still, when I think about all the festivals, museum openings, theatre performances, comedy shows, art galleries, and independent classes that are offered around Pittsburgh, just to name a few of the options available in a city like Pittsburgh with vast public services and interesting people, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out. If you ever get a chance, I’d say stay here over a summer, even if only for a couple weeks. And even if that’s not in the cards, maybe check out some of the local stuff happening outside of Oakland; Pittsburgh can surprise you.

Cover Image Credit: Robpinion on Wikimedia Commons

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It's Time For Spring Cleaning, And I Plan To Clean Out My Closet And What's Cluttering My Mind

I want to spring clean my mind and my heart.

Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and spring has sprung! Lubbock can’t seem to fully get behind the change in the weather, but I’ve decided to embrace the shift anyway. Despite temperature drops below freezing, I’m moving my outlook to warmer days. With a new season and a new perspective, it seems a good time to spring clean my life.

That’s right, my life. I’m embarking on an effort to spring clean everything. My pantry can use a serious clean out and I desperately need to sort through clothes, but I’d like to take the metamorphosis one step further this year. What else in my life is dragging and bogging me down?

The obvious physical stuff needs to go. In a world where the latest trend promises and swears to make you thinner, prettier, happier, healthier, it’s hard to stay focused on a minimalist lifestyle. That’s the new goal—living as minimally as I can. Am I going to downsize to only five items of clothing I can strategically mix and match? No. But I would like to actually know every single item that’s in my closet (something I admittedly 100% could not do right now).

And don’t even get me started on the beauty products...

I’m going to purge the physical items cluttering my life and my home and seek to live only for those things that make me happy.

I plan to do this emotionally too.

I want to spring clean my mind and my heart. Perhaps I’m taking the analogy too far, but how great would it feel? We focus on transformations in this season and all things new. I want to cut out commitments and relationships that do not bring me joy and do not make me a happier or better person.

I want to create more physical space and emotional time and effort to give back to those things in my life that are good for me. How much more energy would I have if the clutter in my apartment and the clutter in my mind weren’t draining me every step of the day?

I’m hoping I’m not alone in this, but I don’t think I am. How much better would we feel if we were living for and with only the few incredibly important things that mean the world, rather than struggling along burdened by the latest and trendiest fashion, product, or commitment? I’m convinced, it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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