As the holiday season is upon us, we find ourselves surrounded by the excitement and joys it may bring. However, we must also accept that along with the decorated storefronts, the warm, scent of hot cocoa, and the playing of holiday music, comes the hustle and bustle of anticipation that the season often brings. So, how do we stay merry and bright while avoiding stress, expectations, and disappointment?
Tip for Creating a Truly Peaceful Holiday Season:
1. Create memorable experiences – Make it a point to disconnect and decrease tech time this holiday season. Instead, strive to create experiences which foster physical and social connectedness and interactions. Playing holiday games, cooking or baking together, singing, dancing or driving around to see holiday lights are easy and fun ways to increase quality time with others and create memories that last a lifetime.
2. Random Acts of Kindness – Studies have shown that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves. Giving to others makes us feel better about ourselves, and in turn, promotes feelings of happiness. Perform a random act of kindness for someone, whether it is making a small donation to your favorite charity, volunteering at a hospital, or paying for someone’s morning coffee at Starbucks.
3. Do something nice for yourself – While the holidays may be the time for giving, don’t underestimate the importance and need for self-care. Find time to engage in activities which relieve stress, such as exercise, a massage, or a night out to eat.
4. Holiday bucket list – Bucket-lists can be another great way to boost healthy interactions and positive feelings surrounding the holidays. Come up with things you and your family enjoy doing together to get into the holiday spirit such as, ice-skating, making personalized holiday cards, or building a snowman.
5. Let go of expectations
– “When you release expectations, you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you think they should be.” Many times, holidays often come with high expectations, whether it is hosting the perfect dinner, finding the best gift for someone, or just a picture in your mind of what an ideal holiday should be. It is important to remember that some expectations are unrealistic. Having reasonable expectations and the ability to be flexible will set the tone for creating peace and calm for you and those around you.
Remember, the holidays are never perfect, however, we can strive to create one that is peaceful, mindful and meaningful.
Wishing you all a very warm and happy holiday season!
Erminia Severini, LPC