I love when the holiday season rolls around. People are happier, nicer and give more of themselves to those in need. It’s also a time we spend with loved ones and are more appreciative of all that we are and all the blessings in our lives. Sadly for many, the holiday season that starts with Thanksgiving and ends with the New Year is not a happy time but a time of stress and unhappiness. A lot of people are grief stricken over the loss of loved ones or overcome with loneliness or their current goals that are still in front of them.
My father died over 2 years ago and I still miss him, even more during the holidays. He really loved The holidays and made sure the family came together to celebrate. Instead of focusing on what’s missing because he’s no longer here, I embrace all he meant to me and taught me over the years with his words and my observation.
Sadness, overeating, overspending and time demands can make the holidays not so much fun. But with a few simple changes you can minimize the stress and increase the joy. You have the power to make the holidays a fun, enjoyable and memorable time!!
1. It's Okay To Feel What You Feel If you’re sad or experiencing grief during the holiday season be honest about what you feel. We all have days that are not at our maximum happiness level via a weak moment. Acknowledge that. Give yourself time to feel the feelings. If you need to cry then do that but give yourself a deadline. One day (24 hours), then focus your attention on the blessings in your life.
2. Reach Out and Touch Others Reach out to family and friends. Make a call, write a letter, find them on social media or go out and do something fun. Share your memories, catch up on old times and have some laughs. Spending time with others can help reduce feelings of loneliness and increase happiness.
3. Be Grateful 'Tis The Season' Instead of focusing on all the things that are going wrong or that you don’t like about the holidays, focus on the things that are going well and bring you joy. You are alive and breathing, that's something to be grateful for. If you are employed, have a roof over your head and have people to love and love you back that is something to be glad about. Write one thing each day for which you are grateful then watch your optimism and joy increase.
4. Exercise The holiday season is when many of us put on the extra pounds (me included). Foods and drinks we normally don’t consume during the year are readily available during the holidays. Things like eggnog, sweet potato pie or pumpkin pie are staples at holiday gatherings. Instead of over indulging and feeling guilty have some of your temptations but include exercise each day. Exercise not only helps you keep off unwanted pounds but it also increases energy and improves your mood.
5. Start New Traditions If old habits and traditions no longer serve you, do something different. If you always have dinner change it to brunch. Mix up the menu or the location. If spending lots of money on gifts for people that already have everything no longer brings you joy then give donations to charity in a loved one’s name, buy toys for children living in shelters or volunteer your time serving food to the homeless.