The holidays are coming, and they can be a pretty weird time. On the one hand, they bring, but on the other, there is the urge to consider and re-evaluate your life compared to the year before and many other things that can get you down. Add in the overall strangeness of this year and the standard stress over gift-giving, and you can find yourself in a mood that is not precisely super cheerful.
However, there are ways to unlock your inner happiness during the holiday season. This article will help you do just that.
Accept that your holidays won’t be ideal
We all have this ideal picture of a holiday season in our minds. Everybody is happy all the time, no one is arguing, and everyone is eating moderately. There are no small arguments during family meals, kids don’t get overstimulated and cranky, and everything is picture-perfect as it should be, right?
Wrong. No one in real life has a perfect holiday like that. The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be for you to enjoy the holidays’ hectic nature for what it is. Sometimes, things aren’t as ideal as you’ve imagined them in your mind, and that’s OK. Don’t worry too much.
Give yourself a break
The holiday season should be about kindness and forgiveness. But, the one person people tend not to be so kind to even during this festive season is themselves. Try not to be like that.
Give yourself a break this season, and be kind to yourself. That means taking some time out for yourself and your needs, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.
It also means not beating yourself if you step off your diet or don't work out for a few days. The damage you'd do to your mental wellbeing by dwelling on these things is far more significant than any other damage you could make in such a short amount of time.
Remember that it is OK to ask for help
One of the reasons we sometimes get too exhausted around the holidays is that we simply attempt to do too much on our own. Ask for help from your significant other, children, friends, or family when you need it, and be direct and honest when expressing what you need.
Don’t stop at a single request if you need help with a dozen different things, either. Remember two things - you are not a burden, and no one is supposed to read your mind. Don't be ashamed to ask for help, and when you do, be concrete and specific.
Be aware of your breaking points
For what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, holidays sure bring a lot of stress. We’ve all been there; you think you’ve got it all together, and then the cat rips one of the presents open, your kids get into a fight and before you know it, you feel as if the entire celebration is ruined and you are at your wits’ end.
Be aware of your tipping or breaking points, and do all you can to avoid them. Take a break, decompress, and relax for as long as you need to. Even holidays can cause you to suffer from burnout if you don’t take care of yourself.
Do something non-materialistic this holiday season
Some say that investing in experiences is much smarter than investing in material goods. All too often, we get caught up in the shopping, the endless sales, the urge to make sure we buy something for everyone, and that is when we forget that this is not all the holidays are about.
Keep things simple, and take some time to enjoy the snow, spend some time with your significant other without the kids, decorate the house as a family. Consider visiting some unique places or people or simply enjoy watching the fireplace. Anything that helps you take a breather from the consumerism that is all around us counts.
One more aspect of the holiday spirit that you shouldn’t forget during the festive season is forgiveness. Be kind to others and yourself.
You don’t have to forgive somebody’s flaws forever, though. Still, if you stick it out till, say, the end of the big family dinner without talking politics with that one cousin who is so entirely out of touch with the world around them that it drives you crazy every time you meet them, that will be enough.
To put it otherwise, don’t waste your energy trying to prove a point to someone who has managed to agitate you so many times in the past. You’ll end up getting as annoyed as ever, and they won’t learn a thing. Just let it go.
Learn when to say no
This is an important tip, not only during holidays but all throughout the year. It is important to set limits and boundaries and stick to them. At first, you might feel like you are letting someone down if you say no to them, but consider how valuable your time is.
The more you respect your schedule and your premade plan, the easier it will be for you to navigate through the holiday season and come out the other side unscathed. Besides, others will respect you more once they realize you respect yourself.
Communicate with your significant other
One of the people we often leave out of our holiday plans is our significant other. Too many couples get into an escalating tug of war about reading each other’s minds or keeping score on what happened during the year, that they don’t start with a clean slate each and every year. It is love that keeps us together and we should do everything we can to keep it strong.
Talk to your partner and see what they expect to get out of the holiday season, and share your expectations as well. Also, it's equally important to be with them both physically and emotionally.
Remember, you are a team and you can survive the holiday season with high spirits only if you stick together.
I’m Rebecca, a translator, avid traveller, and a bookworm. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.