The Holidays. Those words are enough to make some people want to crawl in a hole for the next few months. They are anxiety inducing and overwhelming to many. This should not be, and does not have to be, the case. Holidays should be time anticipated and enjoyed. You should not be just hoping to get through them. These steps will help you THRIVE during this holiday season, instead of just surviving.
1. Be thankful.
This one is probably something you will hear time and time again. Because it is necessary! When you are grateful for all you have in your life, you become a much more positive person. You begin to appreciate things you were taking for granted. You have to wait in line for gas during holiday travel? If you focus on finding what to be thankful for, like having family to travel to see, then that small inconvenience becomes much less frustrating.
Take the time this holiday season to re-frame your thinking. When a situation is undesirable, try to find a reason to be thankful for the problem. The change in the way you see things will make the small comments from extended family members roll right off your shoulders.
2. Develop a better relationship with someone new.
Speaking of extended family members. Take the time to truly catch up and get to know one of them. Find out what new things have been happening in that great-aunt’s life. Talk to your cousin about their kids. Be genuinely interested in people you don’t often talk to. If you are going to spend this time of year together, you should try to build a new or deeper connection.
If you do not have a family member to try to get a better relationship with, maybe find a neighbor or co-worker instead. Holidays make people more open to new friends. You just never know who may be a bigger part of your life than you ever could have imagined. Take the time to reach out and build that stronger connection.
3. Don’t compare or try to keep up with others.
One of the biggest stressors during the holidays is trying to do so many things for so many people. We fret about getting an acquaintance a gift because they might get us one. It becomes an obligation, not a kind gesture. This is not necessary. Do what you can and what makes you comfortable, and know that it is appreciated and more than enough.
The people who do something for everyone are not going to be upset if not everyone does something for them. They do it because they enjoy it. Maybe they have the means to do more. They are not going to hold it against you if you do not equally reciprocate. Write a lovely thank you note and try to do something small for them at another point in the year when you aren’t stretched so thin if you want to. No need to drive yourself crazy all through the holidays trying to guess what people are going to do and keep up!
4. Try something new.
Try to DIY something maybe. There are all kinds of ideas out there to make your own holiday decor that are amazing. You could bring a new recipe to a family dinner that you know everyone will love and rave about. Taking the time to do something yourself makes it more special. And learning something new while you are motivated is a great bonus!
You could also incorporate a new activity in your life. If you volunteer through the holidays, why not keep it up the rest of the year? During a time when you are often being bogged down by all the traditions, trying new things is a way to keep life fresh.
5. Take time for YOU.
With all the focus on family and friends, it is easy to forget about you. Take a day and play hooky. Go ahead and binge watch holiday movies while eating cookies and drinking hot cocoa. ‘Tis the season for a smidge of indulgence. Self-care is key to thriving through stressful times.
You can go ahead and splurge on something that will make your life better. Buy a fancy, pretty planner you have been wanting to keep your life more organized. Try the face wash you read about in the magazine that is a little more than you normally spend on your skin care products. A splurge that improves some part of your life is often worth it.
6. Don’t dwell on another year (almost) past.
Yes, another year has almost come and gone. There may be some goals that you did not accomplish. But this is not the time to be thinking about that. Unless it is something that can magically be accomplished in one month while still happily engaging in everything else that comes with the holidays, let it go for now!
Be present in the now and enjoy it! If you are in the company of loved ones, you are right where you should be! All of your goals can be re-evaluated and accomplished next year. You will be more informed, supported, and ready to go. Especially since you found this blog and I am here to help! 😊
7. Help someone who needs it.
There are lots of opportunities through the holidays to help others. It may be financially or by giving your time. Whatever you have more of to give, both are deeply needed by another. You can always help a child in need get some Christmas presents. Donate time or resources to your local animal shelter. Visit sick or elderly patients at the hospital or nursing home. Deliver meals to hungry families. The need is huge. Every little bit helps.
Helping others provides a sense of love and community to both them and you. You will be doing something neither one of you will ever forget. I promise you, if you make this a priority (even in a tiny amount) you will not regret it. You just might change someone’s life. Maybe even yours.
8. Take the time to express your love to your family/partner.
The holidays bring out longing for closeness in many people. After all, they are about coming together and doing things for others. Without expressing love, the point of the holidays is lost. You may not be a warm and fuzzy person all the time. However, I urge you to take this time to shower the people you love with affection. It will help your relationships and make this season extra special.
It will be a great gift to fulfill that longing for both you and them. Love, and expression of that love, is the gift that will keep giving well past the holidays. Strengthening your relationships will help you thrive every single day in life.
9. Don’t overbook yourself.
You may not be able to make everything. People understand that. They are going through the same struggle. You will have to prioritize want you cannot miss and focus on not rushing through those gatherings. Then you can meet up with the others once things calm down.
When you are on a time limit and always about to run out the door, you lose out on so many experiences. Do not do that to yourself or others. If you have to decline a holiday party for someone who you consider a close friend, make sure to go ahead and schedule something special with them as soon as you get more free time. You can extend your holidays out a little longer!
10. Don’t let the people who struggle through this time of year bring your mood down.
Some people will not ever be happy about the holidays. You have to accept this and find a way to not let these people affect you. Find a way to stay merry even when small things pop up. Think of all the amazing things right now that overshadow all the annoyances.
Trying to make everything perfect and everyone happy is not realistic. It will drain you of all your energy. Be kind and generous to others and then let them decide how they want to feel. Don’t let it stop you from thriving on!!
If you were one of those people who semi-dreaded the holiday season, I hope this will change your approach! If you follow these 10 steps, this season may become your favorite time of the year!! Now go and give your first gift to others, share this post to help others thrive through too!