The Holidays are soon approaching and there are many emotions that one can feel. Excitement, sadness, loneliness, family time, overwhelmed, fun family time, crazy family time you take your pick…or all of the above! The instagrams and commercials make us feel as if we should be having a perfect holiday as they portray it. Where is my perfect smiling family around the tree? Where is my tree? Where is the perfect snow falling and the kissing under the holly? You know what I mean. We begin to go into social comparison and wonder how we can make our holidays “perfect” so we too can match what the advertisers tell us it should look like. How about we reframe this situation and take a new look at our holiday season? Have you ever truly thought about what the holiday spirit means to you and how you can make that happen in new and different ways? For example:
Not all of us have the large wonderful smiling family or maybe we are not near them over the holidays or maybe it’s not really all that wonderful when we are together. We have choices. Choose to surround yourself with the people who make you feel good about you. If this is not your family how about some close friends? If you are with your family and all is going well that is terrific. Take those moments and savor them. Pay attention to all that is wonderful and print photos; save mementos or anything else that can bring you back to those feel good feelings. If things are not going so well, how about trying some new techniques to get through the moment and know this to shall pass.
Try taking 3 deep breaths
Go for a walk
Try to focus on what’s going well rather than what’s not
Self – Care
Often we can get so overwhelmed during the holiday season trying to get the ‘perfect present’, make the ‘perfect meal’ or decorate the house like a stage set designer (or Martha Stewart!). How about we give ourselves a break and remember the saying it’s good enough? Shopping online is certainly a better solution than running from store to store and often they ship for free! Making a holiday budget and sticking with it will help with overspending blues in January. Research has shown that giving a gift of experience is often more remembered than an item. Have you ever thought about giving the gift of time? People love to receive this in the way of babysitting for free, cooking a meal, helping someone in any way. The gift of kindness will boost your happiness as well as theirs. This is also a time of year when we really need to maintain our sleep schedule so we can keep our energy up and our resilience. Remembering our promise to ourselves to eat healthy is a challenge. How about putting a red string reminder bracelet on your wrist so every time you think you want that extra cookie or drink you can look down and say no, I am reminding myself I want to be healthy and at my best. Reminder bracelets are also good to focus on any action you want to remember to take – for example: be more playful, stay off my phone, focus on my gratitude, relationships as my most important action this season etc.
This is truly a season to be grateful so it’s a perfect time to bring this into your life. Every evening or every few days at the end of the day take your journal and write down three different things you are grateful for. Really take the time to feel it and savor the moment. This exercise has been shown through research to boost your happiness quotient. I also love gratitude texts. Whenever I am thinking a loving thought about someone I like to share it immediately through a gratitude text! They love it and so do I. What happened in your day today that you are truly grateful for? Open your eyes, look around, there is so much to appreciate and always remember what you appreciate appreciates!
Many times during this season we are flying or driving somewhere. Think ahead and plan your time so you are not stressed out. Give yourself ample time to get from place to place. Pack a healthy snack such as apples and almonds, or crackers and almond butter to stave off those moments when you have nothing to eat but fast food if that. If flying with little children bring a new book or small toy to occupy them along the way. Write a list of what you need to pack so you can remember all that you might need like diapers and change of clothes for little ones and water for all. When standing on long lines remember your three breaths! It’s a great time to breathe in and say stay calm, breathe out, breathe in and say I am okay, breathe out, breathe in and say, all is good in the world, breathe out (or anything else that will calm you). Taking these three breaths will immediately center you and calm you down. Traveling can be stressful let’s think ahead so we know what to do.
Giving to others has been shown to give the person giving a greater happiness boost than the person receiving. Give your hugs and smiles freely throughout the season and the year. Donate a toy or coat to someone in need. Donate your time and help another. Volunteer and see the joy you can bring to others. If you are a singer maybe you can go sing for an elderly community?
Would love to hear from you and what other ideas you would suggest to get through this wonderful season hopefully filled with joy! I wish you a very happy holiday.