Having a “happy holidays” is easier for some than others. While it’s touted as “the season of joy,” this can be a tough time of year for many people. However, even if you’ve hit a bump in the road or are dreading certain family gatherings, putting a focus on positivity can change the scene on your holiday landscape.
We all know there’s a lot of extra pressure put on making the holiday season a wonderful, magical time. Sometimes the expectations alone are suffocating, not to mention the shopping, cooking, cleaning, preparations, traveling, and all other aspects of holiday “cheer” we’re supposed to enjoy. But adjusting your mental nob just a bit can put a little more joy into the season after all.
In the practice of wellness, there’s a big push for mindfulness because it’s often the small positive moments we tend to overlook while our brains automatically turn to the injustices, hardships, and pains in our lives. Being mindful can help you celebrate happy moments on a regular basis and develop a more positive outlook. Starting during the holidays is a great time to implement mindfulness.
Mindfully noting positive moments can include gratitude for big and small things in your life, like the times when someone randomly smiles at you or when you love the way your outfit looks and feels. Just your ability to move, breathe, talk, and contribute are all positive aspects of your life that you can focus on to be more optimistic.
Letting go can be extra difficult this time of year. It goes back to those expectations and perhaps a personal vision of how we want our holiday events to be. Recognizing that preparation and planning are important, sometimes things are out of your control and you must let them go. If someone else wants to say something rude, you can shrug it off. If your turkey is a bit dry and your bunt cake is too moist, no one’s going to starve. If your sister-in-law one-ups you on a gift, appreciate her thoughtfulness. Letting the little things get you down can ruin your together time so don’t sweat the small stuff and learn to let it go.
There’s a laundry list of things to do to prepare for the holidays and many of them can be a drag. So, as you chip away at your mandatory tasks daily, make it a priority to do something seasonally fun every day. That may include listening to holiday music, eating chocolate, taking a long walk, calling a friend, sleeping in an extra hour, or watching a movie with your family.
We are social beings and are meant to interact. However, you may feel overwhelmed by all the “connection” you’re supposed to have during this season. Sure, being around family that drives you nuts or attending your obligatory holiday parties may seem like connection, but you achieve more positivity by connecting in other ways.
First, rather than get involved in family drama or making the rounds at parties, stay focused on one or two individuals you want to spend your time with per gathering. You’ll probably learn something knew about each other and have a much more enjoyable time than usual.
Also seek out new connections, perhaps with those who need you more than you need them. Volunteering is a meaningful way to meet others and help others in your community. This type of connection may benefit you more than you realize.
Tip #5: Be kind to yourself and others.
Self-love is essential this time of year and it helps you be more loving and kinder to others too. Since you’re already going to be more mindful, let things go, do something fun daily, and connect with others, you’ll be in the right mindset for kindness.
For yourself, a personal mantra comes in very handy and may help you stress less. Also, grant yourself some flexibility in the spirit of the holidays. Eat well but indulge in dessert if you want it. Exercise but relax a bit too. And accept help from others when you need it.
Random acts of kindness are extremely well-received this time of year. Break the rules with your kids and do something outrageously fun and out-of-character. Do good deeds for friends, family and neighbors. And even show kindness towards strangers. These proven ways of being happier contribute to a more positive season of joy!