Your Best Self: Simple Ways to Bring Joy Back to the Holidays

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By: Connie Haley

The planning, shopping and cooking. The steady stream of party invites. The endless to-do lists. It’s no wonder that some of us do not love our wonderful lives during the holiday season. If you feel that your holiday spirit is slipping into “Scroogeville,” don’t despair. Try one, or all, of the holiday survival tips below to get back on track.

Get Crystal Clear. Decide what matters most to you about the holiday. What do you want the holiday season to look like? You can do this solo, or incorporate family members. Pick three main things and put the majority of your time and energy there. If you love to bake, decorate and throw parties, then focus mainly on those activities. Get help with anything you don’t do well or don’t enjoy. If there is a family tradition you just aren’t loving, consider replacing it with a new one. Stay focused on the reason for the season to avoid overwhelm.

Make Time for You. Calm your mind: a cup of tea, getting outside, deep breathing or sticking with your regular exercise routine. Schedule time to replenish your own reserves and simply “be.” Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s essential, especially during the holiday frenzy. Once you have recharged, you are better prepared to take care of those you love and truly enjoy the festivities. Note: resentment is almost always due to a lack of self-care.

Give Back. Giving to others is at the heart of the holidays. Planning a volunteer activity can reduce stress, model desired behavior for the kids and help the community. Focusing on other people will take you away from your own concerns, put the craziness in perspective and leave you with a big dose of gratitude.
Find the Humor. The holidays are about giving and receiving joy. If you are looking for what’s wrong in a situation, you will find it. You will also find yourself with a residual, grumpy disposition. Challenge yourself to find the positive or, at least, the ridiculous in the holiday mayhem. This applies to anything that gets your knickers in a knot this season. Yes, even that irritating relative.

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa – however you celebrate this season, remember that the ability to enjoy the holidays resides in you, not the gifts, decorations or food. Don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy this year. Wishing you and your family a safe and Happy Holidays!

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