10 Steps For Staying Happy Through The Holiday Season
Thanksgiving is almost here which marks the beginning of the holiday season. With so many holiday pressures often times we forget what truly is important. We are busy shopping, cooking and wondering how to deal with some unsettled family business. Over the weekend I came down with a nasty flu, which is in full swing as I write this. To be sick is no fun to say the least, but I do take it as a sign to slow down and reflect. Here are some ideas for staying happy through the holiday season. I hope that you take time to enjoy the holidays.
Do Something Random For The Fun Of It
What have you always wanted to do, but came up with an excuse not to? What made you happy as a kid? Think about things you did, during the holidays, which were fun during the holidays and relieve them as a grown-up. If you have children then introduce your fond activities to your kids. Go ice-skating, go to a hokey play, watch your favorite movie or read a favorite children’s book.
Doing something for others is a powerful thing. Volunteer your time or donate money to a favorite cause or something that speaks to your heart is important. It’s a good thing to do and trust me it will make you feel good.
Take Care Of Yourself
It’s important to do things for yourself. Schedule a mani-pedi or a massage. Take a nap, take a day off and read in bed. Do whatever it is that you need to do to recharge.
Commune With Nature
So often we forget to go outside and do something for nature. Pick up garbage, feed the birds, start a compost pile, rake up leaves or whatever needs doing. You will be doing something good for nature and by being outside you will feel better.
It may be chilly outside, but go out for a walk or run anyway. We need the vitamin D and to get our blood pumping. Ride your bike, go skiing or sledding. If you can’t get outdoors then go to your local gym and take an exercise class. It’s important to get those endorphins going.
Try Cooking A New Recipe
Choose a recipe that peaks your interest and try making it. If it’s a big success then perhaps you can duplicate it for a holiday dinner. Even if you don’t make it for a holiday dinner you have it in your back pocket of recipes. If it doesn’t turn out then oh well at least you tried it.
Favorite Childhood Food
Everyone has a favorite childhood food. Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska my mother used to make something called Runzas. Whenever I need a “childhood comfort shot” I will make Runzas (thank goodness my mother left me the recipe). My husband grew up Italian in Castro Valley. During the holidays his aunt would bring an Italian rum cake to the family gatherings. My husband has been searching for this cake for over 40 years, but can’t seem to find it. I’ve tried several times to duplicate it from his description. The point here is, think about what your favorite foods were as a child. Try and duplicate them and share them with the people that you love. Trust me…food and memory are powerful things.
Honor Your Ancestors
Holidays can be emotional. We all have both happy and sad memories of people who have passed away. One way to honor those who have passed away is to make their favorite foods. Another is to watch an ancestor’s favorite movie. My father-in-law’s favorite movies was, “It’s A Wonderful Life.” After he passed away we would take the whole family and go to see, “It’s A Wonderful Life” at the local movie theater. Not one of us walked out of the theater with dry eyes. It was powerful, healing and an important holiday ritual. Take some quiet time to reflect and to be grateful for those people who are gone and were important in your life.
Forgive Friends & Family
Oftentimes living friends and family can be an emotional challenge. Forgive them. Lift the weight off of yourself and simply forgive them. This doesn’t mean that you should get right back into dysfunction (set boundaries and limitations). Deal with conflicts from your highest level of goodness and love.
Make Amends & Forgive Yourself
We have all wronged people that we love. Examine your past emotions and motivations in situations that are nagging your heart. Make amends; tell that person you are sorry. There is no need to go into “yeah but.” Simply “I am sorry I did fill in the blank.” Forgive yourself as well. Most of us are hard on ourselves, which creates stress whether we know it, or not. We all make mistakes. Forgive yourself. At the end of the day, at the end of the holidays the happy memories will not come from presents or material things as much as from genuinely connecting and appreciating your family, friends and yourself.