By Micara Link
‘Tis the season to be jolly and bright, right? Do Christmas carols, baking cookies and pies, stringing lights, hanging wreaths, and wearing your favorite holiday sweater with your cute little Santa pin, add a little extra pep to your step this time of year? Yeah, me neither.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays. I love seeing my family (seriously, I do), I enjoy the connections that the holiday brings with not only my immediate family and friends, but the with the community, too. I love all the mint-chocolately goodies, Christmas trees, giving presents, holiday parties, and watching Home Alone, but I am not a huge holiday fanatic. It’s great for those who are. I always wonder how I could improve my holiday spirit. Those who love it seem to be so happy; happier than normal. I’m generally a pretty happy person, but I’ll still take more. Why am I not super-pumped about everything Santa and sleigh bells? Why don’t I have a burning desire to make sugar cookies and eggnog? I don’t know.
That’s just the way I am. I’m grateful and giving, yet slightly annoyed and overwhelmed. I’m pretty much smack in the middle of overly festive versus Mr. Scrooge.
As I pondered this oh-so-enlightened internal controversy, I came to realize a pattern with my clients lately. It seems that practically everyone that I’ve met with has or is going through a major life change and the holidays are deepening the effect of those changes. Common feelings among my clients have been: down on themselves, lost, and sad. The holiday season seems to either amplify inner pains or erase them all and put people in a happy holiday hypnosis.
It’s during the holidays that we tend to think about the past year. We are reminded of our trials and tribulations, the setbacks, losses, and changes. Honestly, 2010 has been a very intense and life-changing year for so many people. If you’re feeling a little down this holiday season, remember you are never alone. Guided as usually by spirit, here are some tips to shift your ho-hums to hoorays:
Celebrate Life: If you lost a job, home, or someone you love this year, take time to celebrate the good memories. Look for the positives in even the harshest situations. If you lost your job, take a moment to see all the gifts that job brought you, such as the good people you met and the opportunities that were presented. Although it’s not always easy to face, that job was obviously not meant to be, if it was, you’d still be there. Remember, when one door closes, another one opens.
If you lost a loved one, take time to remember them, their life, and your relationship. Take out a picture of them and smile with the memories. Celebrate the times you had together. Those in spirit are still with you even if you can’t see them. You can call on them at anytime. They are truly only a thought away. And last, but most definitely not least, take time to honor yourself and your emotions. Feel whatever you need to feel. Honor the process and express your emotions. It might not be comfortable, but it’s healthy and necessary. Once those emotions are released you’ll be able to see with more clarity the blessings in disguise.
Volunteer – Research has shown that volunteering not only helps others, but it positively affects you as well. Volunteering has been shown to improve mental and emotional health. It combats depression and increases self-confidence. You’ll feel a stronger sense of fulfillment and meaning in your life when you give your time and energy to an organization that you feel passionate about. There are many organizations that look for extra volunteers during the holiday season. Check out your local community to find places that are recruiting. In the Fargo-Moorhead area, FirstLink is a good place to start your search.
Less is More- It’s easy to be bombarded with a never-ending list of tasks to accomplish in a short amount of time during the holiday. Everything seems to be rushed, crammed, and overloaded. That is pretty much a guaranteed recipe for stress. This time around, set boundaries and let go of things you don’t really NEED to do. Focus on what’s important and let go of the rest. Take less time stressing and more time enjoying.
Have Fun- Throw a holiday party! Better yet, throw a themed holiday party! Have you heard of Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties? I’m sure many of you have, but for those of you who haven’t, the gist of it is to find the ugliest Christmas sweater you can, you know the ones with sewn on bells, pictures of cats wearing santa hats, gaudy patch work, and overly embellished artwork? Yeah, those! Gather a group of friends and celebrate the season with humor. Oh, and don’t forget the mistletoe!
Wherever you are this holiday season, whatever you feel, if you love or hate this time of year, I sincerely wish you the best. From my heart to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
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