For many, this time of the year is joyous and exciting – when family and friends get together to celebrate. Good people, good food and good times are the hallmark of the season.
For some, though, the response is less than enthusiastic. Past experiences, unhappy relationships or a simple dislike for the chaos of the season take away the joy. If holiday “merriment” brings more despair than pleasure to you, here are some tips.
But before the tips…
To have a happy, successful holiday season, try taking care of yourself first. For example, if you have dental issues that might prevent you from smiling when you’re with others, see if your dentist can squeeze you in before the Holidays get here.
Or, try getting those new glam glasses you’ve had your eye on. Get a hair replacement – whatever gives your self-image a boost! If you feel better about yourself, others will feel better about you, too.
Now, get your new holiday attitude revved up!
Once you have your own mojo back, it’s time to think about how to deal with the people around you, and the stresses they can bring. Here we go…
1. One of the best ways to deal with holiday expectations is to lower them. You really don’t have to be the perfect host or hostess at every event throughout the season. You don’t have to over-spend, decorate too lavishly or try to outdo your gift-giving from last year. Decide in advance exactly how much effort and money you want to put into your holiday participation and stick to it.
2. Learn the power of saying “no” to requests you can’t or don’t want to accommodate. It can be a powerful boost to your self-esteem and outlook on the holiday festivities when you can definitively speak your mind and turn down demands that don’t interest you or fit your schedule.
3. Accept the fact that your holidays will not be the perfect mix of loving family members joyfully interacting. Conflicts are likely when family gatherings take place, especially in this politically divisive time. Plan your reaction or avoidance response to know family trouble-makers in advance. That way, when a squabble threatens to overheat, you can quietly cope, lie and say you actually agree, or simply turn and walk away. Remember, most people are not capable of change, and you’re certainly not going to accomplish it during a Holiday party – bowing out may be the best option.
4. Work to take your focus away from yourself. Volunteer to work in the soup kitchen. Visit a nursing home and bring some holiday cheer to people who may not have anyone else. Donate money to a cause you believe in. In other words, embrace the true meaning of the holiday season and reach out to people who could use some holiday cheer.
5. Don’t let holiday activities interrupt your normal daily routines. Keep up with your fitness program. Don’t overindulge in food or drink just because you may be socializing more. Fulfill your sleep requirements. Don’t let holiday “obligations” divert you from what you need to do for you!
6. Try to time your holiday shopping during off-peak hours. Crowds, traffic and overworked sales clerks can go a long way towards putting you in a bad mood. Take a day off, if necessary, to get your shopping list checked off in a more relaxed fashion. Remember to do it all earlier this year!
7. Share your feelings of sadness during the season with trusted friends or family members. You might be surprised just how much you have in common with many other people during the holidays. Sharing your feelings may actually cheer you up!
8. Give yourself a gift this season. Plan an activity or event that speaks to your heartfelt desires. This can involve the people you care most about or it can be a solo event that feeds your soul. A small trip or a special splurge purchase can add excitement to the holidays.
Want more advice? Get it here from professional life coach, Marlene Boas.
As much as you might think you want to, don’t completely isolate yourself from the hoopla that surrounds the holidays. It can be a great time to reconnect with the people who matter most in your life. It can also present opportunities to step back and appreciate everything that is good and positive. Don’t forget, the fresh start of a new year is right around the corner.
Oh and by the way…