‘Family Holidays’ such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter can be tough if your definition of ‘family’ is a bit complicated. Divorces, bereavements and estrangements can mean that even people you would love to sit in front of ‘Gavin and Stacey’ with can’t always be with you – and that’s hard sometimes.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to consign yourself to a crap Easter weekend this year. If you’re feeling up to it, there are plenty of things you can busy yourself with even if you’re flying solo for the whole four days. We’ve put together a few suggestions.

Go to a craft fair, market or festival

As most people have time off over Christmas and Easter, there’s always something going on in city centres – everything from beer festivals to craft events. Here’s a guide to Easter Weekend in the North East, but there’ll be loads of things happening across the UK. If you’re liable to feel down in the dumps if you stay in the house all weekend, find something that really tickles your fancy and go for it – even if you’re going it alone.

If you are religious and your faith celebrates Easter, going to a local church – even one you’ve never been to before – can be a great way of feeling part of a community.

Get out in the open

Fresh air can banish even the most stubborn of miserable feelings. If the weather’s nice, get yourself out and about – maybe even go for a run, if that’s your thing. You’ll feel great about yourself, absorb some much-needed vitamin C and won’t feel so bad about eating a whole Easter egg in front of a documentary about the Queen the next day.

Visit friends

University is great for getting to know your friends’ parents – if you’ve ever found yourself in a nightclub grooving with your flatmate’s mum, it’s not a huge stretch to sit at their dinner table for Sunday lunch. Chat to a mate you know is going home and see if you can get involved – they’re bound to say yes, and two rounds into Cluedo you’ll forget that nobody’s your blood relative.

Read: 6 Tips for Surviving the Holidays When You have a Toxic Family (from Bustle)

Volunteer

Feel like giving something back might make your weekend a bit brighter? Churches, homeless shelters and community groups will often run holiday lunches and invite vulnerable members of the community to come and share a meal with them. Why not contact them to see what you can do to help?

You could also visit a local hospice or elderly care home to see if they could use an extra pair of hands, or simply someone for the residents to chat to about their memories of the holiday.

The prospect might seem daunting at first, but it might turn out to be extremely uplifting for you and them.

Practice some self-love

If work hours won’t allow you time in a soup kitchen or you simply don’t feel very altruistic this weekend, give yourself some TLC. Box sets, chick flicks, classic novels, long baths…. whatever you fancy, give yourself permission to do it. Most shops are closed, work won’t call you, and there’s a chocolate egg in a mug with your name on it.

We live in a society where we’re constantly shamed for wanting to so much as sit down, but sometimes you really do deserve it.

Read: 80 Self-care Ideas (from the Self-Compassion Project)

Give your customers the benefit of the doubt

Bar, restaurant or retail work over this kind of weekend is, frankly, shit. Try, if you can, to spread a little kindness and serve even the snootiest customer with a smile. They might be super stressed as well, and if nothing else, it’ll really piss them off.

Don’t avoid the topic if you don’t want to

If times like this make you sad, it’s totally OK to show it. If you’re grieving someone, if you’re homesick, or you’re just pissed off that you’ve got work, your feelings are totally valid. If you feel that you can, call a friend and chat to them about how you’re feeling, or you can call Samaritans on 116 123. You don’t have to be feeling suicidal to call a hotline – they are there to talk to no matter what.

 

Easter doesn’t have to be a time for religious reflection, or even a big event – but it can be an opportunity to get some much needed ‘you time’ in the bank. Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a good one.

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