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Occasionally, we find ourselves not in the best of moods. There’s nothing wrong with being a little melancholy sometimes.
Ironically, this is considered “the most wonderful time of the year,” but every one doesn’t feel that way.
Some people suffer from what is called the Holiday Blues. Some people tend to be more stressed, anxious, lonely, and depressed between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (psychologytoday.com).
So let’s tackle these emotions before they take a toll on you and ruin your holidays and your future by misleading you to believe there’s nothing to be grateful for.
First take into consideration these suggestions from the Mayo Clinic website:
- Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
- Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
- Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
- Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Try these suggestions:
- Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
- More importantly, take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. In addition to taking a walk, listening to soothing music, getting a massage, or reading a book, you can use gratitude meditations and affirmations.
What Are Meditations?
A meditation is really just a practice of taking some quiet time to be mindful and aware of a particular thought or issue. It’s a moment of silent reflection that focuses you on the here and now.
Gratitude meditations involve paying a particular attention to your thoughts of being grateful for the particulars of your life or situation, even the ones that may not seem so positive.
In retrospect, your gratitude journaling can be considered a meditation, also.
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmations are short, concise and positive sentences or favorite quotes that are meant to purposefully affect the ways in which we think and feel. These can be done consciously and unconsciously.
What we think greatly influences how we feel and behave. Introducing these positive messages into your life on a regular basis can help you to internalize them and begin living accordingly. Gratitude affirmations focus specifically on being grateful and appreciative.
How to Use Meditations and Affirmations
Both meditation and affirmation are easy to put into practice. They can be used almost any time and anywhere. When you think of meditation, a long, intensive ritual may come to mind. In actuality, you don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating in order to reap the benefits.
Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes and contemplating on what you’re grateful for can help to center you and to provide new perspective, which often will lead to feeling better. To get you started, I have provided links to 1-5 minute guided meditations in your Gratitude Journal/Planner.
Now, when it comes to affirmations, a good practice might be to combine them with your gratitude journal. Write down positive messages or favorite quotes that apply to your life and help to inspire or motivate you. Perhaps you should write them on sticky notes and display them around your house or office. I do. They provide for a pick-me-up when I need one.
These are simple tips that offer a big return when trying to fight off the Holiday Blues. With a little planning, some positive thinking, and a little gratitude sprinkled in, you can find peace and happiness during the holidays and throughout the year.
Celebrating the life you have while creating the life you want.
Ode 2 the good life! It’s the only life you should live.