The most wonderful time of year is upon us. It’s a time for laughter, great food, and social gatherings. You can also be easily overwhelmed and stressed due to holiday obligations. Friends and family, office parties, and gift exchanges can result in feeling drained and emotionally overextended. However, the few weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year don’t have to be cumbersome. There are several ways to gain and maintain a cheerful mood during the holiday season.
It’s okay to Say No
It’s easy to get caught up in attending one event to the next. The schedule can fill up quickly during this time and you may find yourself having little down time in between work and your other obligations. It’s important to set boundaries and let others know your expectations for the holiday season. If you don’t want to go to that family member’s house, then don’t or limit the amount of time you will be there. Let people know if you can or cannot be involved in a holiday event (including Secret Santa, cookie exchanges, parties etc) and relieve some of the pressure to be involved in everything. Picking one or several events you will partake in allows you to have some control and also let’s other people know what to expect from you. You ultimately control your decisions, don’t let the holiday season rid you of that power.
Engage in gratitude
With all of the marketing during this season, one would think it is strictly about getting gifts. And while getting and giving gifts can be happiness inducing, the result is short term. One helpful way to remember the reason for the season is to create a space of gratitude. This can involve taking five minutes to bring awareness to your environment with mindful breathing or meditation. You can also designate a physical space in the home where you feel peaceful such as a sitting room where you can add aromas from essential oils and candles. Creating a list of things you are grateful for and reviewing the list daily will surely assist in increasing feelings of gratitude. The list could include items as simple as, being grateful a good night's rest, or being grateful for having time to read a good book. Often times we become stuck in routines that disengages us from really feeling present. Having time to really engage in gratitude resurfaces our awareness and brings attention to our many blessings.
Be mindful with your time
There are only 24 hours in a day, you cannot be everywhere for everybody. The holidays hustle and bustle can cause us to neglect ourselves. It is important to maintain a self-care routine. This involves taking an inventory of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions each day in the form of a check-in, just as you would with your best friend or spouse. Being mindful of what you are doing with your time helps improve productivity. Be sure to schedule time to rest and recharge. You aren’t useful to anyone or yourself if you are depleted. Challenge yourself to take at least 10 minutes daily to engage in positive self-care.
Check in with others
We’ve all been there. Mom wants dinner at her house, your cousin wants to bring his new girlfriend, you have several dinner invitations on the same day. Ugh. It can seem as if everyone has their own idea of what they want to do during the holidays. One way to help ease tension is to communicate your vision for the holiday season. Coordinate with others to have a collaborative vision of how the holidays should go. If you are on a budget, then set a budget limit for gift exchanges. If you enjoy hosting, volunteer to have dinner at your home or bring supplies to the designated dinner place. It is important to feel empowered to share in the holiday as you wish without all the pressure. Let others know your vision and check in with them to create a sense of togetherness.
‘Tis the season to give
It is typically around this time of year, where most major corporations push for donations to those in need. There are over thousands of children and families who don’t have a warm dining room to stuff their face with turkey in. Nor a tree to share gifts under. As we are preparing for the holidays, let’s try to remember those who less fortunate. Giving back to those in need instills a sense of altruism within us. This doesn't mean that you have to always donate physical items to charities, you could in fact help those in need by volunteering at a local food pantry, or cooking a hot meal for a family that you know is struggling. Remember that your presence holds value, and just showing up to help is worth millions. Put a smile on someone else’s face this season, and I guarantee you will smile back in return.
I hope you found these five ways helpful and give yourself some grace during the holiday season. What other ways have you tried to keep a positive mindset during the holidays?
This post was a collaboration with myself and Cia from Nearly Hair . We are full-time therapists who enjoy blogging and sharing wellness/lifestyle information. Stop by her website.