Neighborhoods decorated with bright lights, snowmen, and reindeer which can trigger feelings of joy, pleasant memories, and bring about the spirit of Christmas. For others, those same items could bring feelings of sadness, depression, or thoughts of loved ones that have passed on.
About ten minutes before I left the office today, I heard a loud crash. I ran outside and saw a car had crashed into a truck of an elderly couple. The vehicle was hit hard enough that the airbags deployed. It didn't appear anyone was severely injured. Being in a car accident sucks any time of the year but right before the holidays make it especially sad. I wondered how this would affect both parties holidays.
After I got into my car, I receive a call from a friend of mine. My friend discussed how her mother-in-law was upset with them because she and her husband were spending the night of Christmas Eve with another family member and not the mother-in-law. The mother-in-law will see her son and daughter-in-law three times during the Christmas weekend but is upset because she won't see them the exact time she would like to see them. The mother-in-laws "demand" is causing stress for my friend, her husband, and I am sure a few other family members. These are just two of the many stories that demonstrate the holidays don't always bring pure joy but can be stress inducing. Below we are going to discuss how to thrive versus surviving during the holidays.
1) Find little things you can enjoy
What brings you joy? Do you enjoy massages, pedicure, or going out for a nice steak dinner? Try to find healthy activities you can do to demonstrate some self-care. You can also raise your spirits by surrounding yourself with things that will make you laugh, a good book, comedy show, or movie. Laughter is the best medicine.
2) Think outside of the box
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. A colleague of mine has a great fun tradition she does with her family. Each Thanksgiving and Christmas, they pick a theme for the holidays. One year it was disco where everyone dresses like they are from the 1970s and the next year Mardi Gra. Having a theme provides some fun and variety for everyone.
3) Take care of you
Be sure to get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise. These simple actions can do wonders no matter what is happening in your life. Meditation and self-hypnosis can be helpful too. During self-hypnosis, you can use a visualization method that the holidays will go well without a hitch. Do you have a counselor, phycologist, or hypnotherapist? If you are not feeling yourself, seek help. Sometimes having an objective ear to listen is all you need.
4) Start a new tradition
If old traditions remind you of loved ones that have passed or hurtful memories, start new traditions with new memories. If you were usually traveling around town looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve, perhaps you start a new ice skating tradition. One thing I miss when I spend the holidays on the west coast versus the Midwest, is snow during the holidays. Something that is unique to San Diego that I haven't seen elsewhere is the parade of lights. This event is where individuals decorate their boats with Christmas decorations and drive them through Mission Bay to Coronado. It is a neat occasion that I couldn't experience back home in Indiana.
5) Give back
Sometimes the best way to feel better about your life is to help those who are less fortunate. Get out volunteer and give back to the community. There are charities and groups of individuals who need help all throughout the year but especially over the holidays. Volunteer Match is a great way to find some opportunities in your area. Something I like to do is volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Living here in San Diego allows you to work outside year-round.
Try not to let the holidays get you down. If you treat it like any other day, do things that bring you joy, and start new traditions, you will be alright! If you would like to speak to someone from Happiness Now over the holidays, we are open! Just give us a call or email.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday!
Hypnotherapist & Coaching