Christmas is a time to feel happy, appreciative, and supportive, but often we feel depressed, lonely, and anxious. Why does it seem so hard to be happy?
Regardless of money problems, bad memories, and awkward family get togethers, getting through the holidays in one piece IS possible.
Shopping – Get your shopping done ahead of time. I was tired of being stressed out all the time about who’s getting what, how expensive everything is, and how I was going to afford everything all in one month. This year, I approached the holidays a different way. I started keeping my eyes out for deals online for the past few months and set aside a box to put potential gifts into. I also set a small amount of money aside for cyber Monday and, without going crazy, made a couple purchases and saved money that way also. Now I don’t have to fight any mad rushes of people for last minute gifts!
Rediscover the Meaning – of Christmas by watching movies, singing carols, enjoying hot cocoa. Try to think of your favorite childhood memory and remember how excited you felt as the holidays approached.
Cover up – Many people have a hard time around the holidays because of something traumatic that’s happened, like a family fall out, or a death. I’m not saying to forget about anyone, but I would suggest starting a new tradition to replace the painful memories. Put the tree in a different place, decorate a little differently, make some different food for Christmas dinner. It helps not to dwell on the hurting too often.
Remembering Lost Ones – Many older cultures include their ancestors and deceased loved ones in their holidays If you have lost someone and are missing him or her then set up a small corner, or space. Put up a picture and decorate the area with a few of their favorite things. Some cultures make a plate of the big meal and set it in this remembrance area as an offering to that person’s soul and spirit. This allows you to remember that person and share your love by including them in your day.
Watch what you eat and drink – Remember that food and alcoholic beverages can affect your mood. Eat smaller portions to avoid ‘stuffing’ your feelings. Putting something in your mouth to keep from saying something potentially troublesome might keep everyone calm but you’ll kick yourself in the butt when you realize you gained twenty pounds as a result.
Volunteer – If you are away from family this year, why not make someone else’s Christmas nice? Find a place to volunteer that helps the less fortunate; a soup kitchen for example. It’s a great opportunity to help others, to learn to appreciate what you have, and a chance to get out of the house, and make yourself feel good by helping others to feel good.
Relatives – If your relatives are sometimes difficult to handle and you’re finding yourself dreading that get together, consider staying for a shorter amount of time. Say very little, to keep from arguing, and make other plans so you can leave early, or arrive late. You don’t have to stay the whole time.
Gratitude – Remember that the holidays aren’t all about you. They’re about celebrating life, friends, family and having a good time. Whenever you find yourself feeling down, think about all the things in your life that you have to be grateful for.
Learn – Pick a culture or religion that you know nothing about and explore the holiday through the eyes and belief system of another. You might find something that you love and can adopt into your own tradition.
Get Stupid – Change things up. Do the holiday differently. If you always go visiting, invite friends and family to visit you this year. If you always buy cards, get out your crayolas and make some instead. If you always eat turkey, have ham or a pizza party. Play with ideas of things that you do that are out of the ordinary and just do it for the fun of it. You’ll create a memory worth saving.