11 Tips for Greater Cheer and Less Drama During the Holidays
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” states the lyrics to a popular Christmas tune.
Yet, for many Americans, the holiday season represents a time of sadness, angst, isolation, painful memories and depression.
According to Healthline.com: “Social isolation is one of the biggest predictors of depression, especially during the holidays. Some people may have a small social circle or a lack opportunities for socialization. People who have feelings of disconnectedness often avoid social interactions at holiday time. Unfortunately, withdrawing often makes the feelings of loneliness and symptoms of depression worse. These individuals may see other people spending time with friends and family, and ask themselves, “Why can’t that be me?” or “Why is everyone else so much happier than I am?”
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING STATISTICS PROVIDED BY DISCOVERYMOOD.COM:
“The holiday season can be a tremendously stressful time for many individuals who are struggling with a mental illness such as depression and anxiety. According to a survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.
THE HOLIDAY BLUES IN A SINGLE DOSAGE…
The Holiday Blues can certainly hold true. Particularly for singles who may not have a “special someone” to share this special time of the year with. Not to mention the restrictions and warnings imposed as a result of the current pandemic in 2020.
Perhaps you’re one of those who suffer from holiday sadness. If so, don’t despair.
You’re not alone. The key to creating more pleasurable experiences or at least navigating the holidays with minimal stress and greater pleasure, is keeping the proper perspective. Whether you're celebrating solo or with family members.
To this end, consider the following tips to end this year on a high note and in good cheer!
Recognize that happiness is a choice.
It’s not always the stuff that goes on around us that determines our quality of life; rather it is how we internalize these things. Sure things could probably be better. We’re in a tough economy, the cost of living is higher, unemployment is rampant, and in many geographic areas the weather is really severe. But things could be worse. How? You’re not 6 ft. under the ground. You’re living in a free country, and you enjoy many constitutional privileges that others are not afforded in some other areas around the globe. “Don’t worry, be happy!”
Have realistic expectations of yourself and others.
Much of the stress associated with this time of the year comes from our “lofty” expectations. We watch the commercials and holiday movies with perfect families, perfect lives and materialistic trappings, and we measure them against our own. Don’t!
More than likely the reality is Aunt Bertha will drink too much; Uncle George will still be holding a grudge from last year; there will be off colored jokes; disappointments over gift exchanges; and a “partridge in a pair tree!” Embrace it.
Remember the gift of laughter.
It’s true that it’s the best medicine. Lighten up and things will typically look up! Keep in mind the reason for the season. Due to over commercialization, the meaning of the season gets lost. Xmas is supposed to be in celebration of Christ’s birth. Honor it in thanksgiving and joy.
Many times reaching out to others makes us feel connected and gives us a sense of purpose. Serve food at a soup kitchen, read to kids in the hospital, or perhaps make baskets for your elderly neighbors. Depending upon the Covid-19 restrictions in your geographic area.
Get over yourself and get involved!
Surround yourself with positive people.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes even family members can be a real “buzz kill” depending upon their personality, perspectives on life, and lack of “socialization savvy.” Some can even be chronic complainers that really know how to “push our buttons.” Count to ten, and then count your blessings. In the words of Joel Osteen thank God, “You could be them!”
Give a small gathering.
If you’re without a mate, consider giving a holiday singles’ mingle for a small group of your friends. Serve eggnog, play games, dance, exchange gifts. The possibilities are endless!
Keep things is moderation.
Don’t over do it; whether it’s food, shopping, drinks or dialogue. Know when to say when!
Dress yourself up!
There’s great validity to the expression, “when you look good you feel good.” Adorn yourself with festive colors that accentuate your best features. Moods are actually associated with certain colors. Healthline.com reports that: "Color Threrapy is based on the idea that color and colored lights can help treat physical or mental health. According to this idea, they cause subtle changes in our moods and biology."
Tune in to some beautiful music.
Did you know that music has been reported to have therapeutic properties and an emotional response? It’s true. I personally recommend anything by Kenny G, Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Harry Styles or even some classical sounds. I’m willing to bet it’ll clear your head and lift your spirits. Go ahead, try it and see!
Explore some new wines. You'll feel just fine.
Many celebrities are now launching their own line of wines available to consumers. That's right. People like Mary J. Blige, Cameron Diaz and Tori Spelling--to name a few. Wines can be a great holiday mood enhancer. Remember to drink responsibly.
Try a few new recipes to show off your culinary skills.
You might be surprised to discover that there are numerous recipes online that you can pull off even if you're not a strong cook. For example, egg nog is pretty simple to make. So are many Christmas cookies. For me, cooking is an extension of my creativity and is also very relaxing. I think you'll have a similar experience.
Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Here's hoping yours will be filled with beautiful memories for many years to come.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. Though I have been known to cure a broken heart or two. Therefore, the above recommendations are for informational purposes only. Consult your health care practitioner for best results.
Image credits: Pixabay.com