As we approach the holiday season, many people are asking me about ways to combat holiday blues. Holiday blues often stem from a life transition or experience that carries a belief about how things should be or look. There are commercials galore that paint pictures of how the holidays should look and most often, they are not true to life yet many people think they are true to life.
Realize that your life is uniquely yours and begin to acknowledge and accept your life experience. I work with people every day to hold deep seeded resentments because life isn’t turning out according to their plan. This causes all kinds of dis-ease, discord and pain. Many of your resentments are not obvious or may even be in your subconscious which causes even more pain because you are holding onto ideas that are perpetuating the pain and disconnection without being fully aware of your habit.
Here are 7 ways to combat holiday blues:
- Honor your feelings, thoughts and fears. Notice when you are controlling internally or externally. In all these times, a form of fear is coloring your life. Feeling sad is OK, feeling angry is OK, feeling joyful is OK. No matter what you are feeling, it is OK. It is OK to release your fears. You can also experience gratitude and joy and connection while having these feelings. They are not mutually exclusive.
- Don’t believe or adopt everything you see around you as the ideal. Remember it is advertising and marketing. They make their money by eliciting emotional responses. People buy most things based on emotion. You do not have to buy what is being sold both in items and in emotions.
- Take some time each day to be away from distraction and ask: “What do I really want to experience this holiday season?” We live by experiences and life is meant to be experienced. Look beneath the stuff for your emotional engagement. You will be much happier. It is time to be true to yourself. Doing things our of guilt or obligation do not serve you or others.
- Create a holiday experience for those you care about. This can include friends, teachers, hair stylists, massage therapist, service providers, family and others. Some experiences that I have created over the years include. Writing a hand written card with a personal message of gratitude for that person being in my life. Each person received the card in person if possible or snail mailed if not. This is independent from any gifts. In other words, freely offering gratitude without using this as a gift or to expect a gift in return. One year, I made special cookies for friends and delivered them at random times. I keep getting repeat requests for cookies!
- Begin a new holiday tradition that is uniquely yours. When I bought my house, I started an ornament collection of Swarovski snowflakes. Every year is different and as I unpack, I reminisce on the previous years in my home. Maybe start a special food or a special warming beverage that everyone can enjoy.
- Take time out to laugh every day. Spending at least 10 minutes laughing each day is very healing. If you don’t feel like laughing, fake it. Laugh at a joke, pretend to laugh, do laughter yoga or simply act goofy. This does not in any way dismiss any sadness or unresolved pain, it does however, balance your brain chemistry so you can be more fully present rather than being controlled by heavy emotions.
- Share your presence with another person. Whether you serve at a local shelter or participate in a neighborhood event or make plans to see a friend you or spend time with someone who may be elderly or alone, give of your personal time. Our most valuable commodity is our time and attention. When you freely share your most valuable possession, you will always come away fulfilled beyond your imagination.
So often in our fast paced society people make excuses rather than making changes. Yes, we are all going through various challenges and trials. Not all are obvious or known to others yet they exist none the less. I invite you to take this holiday season and create a masterpiece of richness and depth of experience and character. Realize that you are the center of your world only and everyone else, family or not, is the center of only their world. This is why when you step outside of your world and begin new holiday traditions and share connections, you and everyone around you will begin to feel more alive and your experiences will create memories for a life time.
Now, take these and build on them. Create amazing experiences for your life. Share your experiences and ideas to inspire others. Holiday blues are not mandatory. You can be joy-filled and have deep rich meaningful experiences. Remember you are personally responsible for creating your best holiday season ever!