I’ve always loved the holidays because of my fond memories of growing up. Even though I have a small family, each holiday brought all my neighbors to my house. It might’ve been because of my mother’s delicious cooking or because everyone felt welcome; either way, I adore the holidays. As much as I love the holiday, I know it can be hard and stressful for some. Maybe you’re missing a loved one, feeling anxious about purchasing gifts, or simply not looking forward to seeing family – it’s understandable.
In a recent interview with Psychiatrist Gregory Scott Brown, he reported that 64% of people dealing with mental illness say their symptoms get worse around the holiday season. This post should help you develop a better holiday mindset, whether alone by choice or by force.
Acts of Kindness
During the holiday season, do something for someone else. Not only will performing an act of kindness take your mind off of your situation, but it is a way for you to show appreciation. An act of kindness can be as small as making coquito or egg nog for the holiday get-together or offering to babysit a loved one’s kid so they can get their nails done or grab lunch.
My mentor has a saying that what you make happen for others will happen for you. Often we say we wish we could do more for people thinking it has to be something grand when it’s the little things that matter most. Kindness spreads positivity, and you can control your impact on another person. When you show up for a stranger or someone you know to do something kind, you release dopamine, a chemical your brain releases when you are happy or satisfied.
Not just for the material things you have but show gratitude for the accomplishments you have already made. If you set a goal to read a book this month and accomplish it, give thanks and express gratitude to the people in your life who check on you. Appreciation goes a long way and, in some cases, makes or breaks someone’s day.
Spend Time With People You Enjoy
It always feels good to be around people who comfort and support you. If you can’t be with your family during the holidays, meet up with some friends! The holiday season is what you make of it; here are a couple of activities you can do whether you’re solo or in a group:
- Make a playlist of your favorite holiday music and dance
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or a nursing home ( bring joy to someone else)
- Start that home project that you’ve been putting off
- Make holiday ornaments
Create Your Own Holiday Traditions
The typical holiday mindset is to be nostalgic, spend (x) dollars on the perfect gifts, and make your favorite food look amazing. Fox News reports that 52% of American families recreate childhood traditions. While there is nothing wrong with celebrating this way, you often get caught up in the hype and the traditions you need to remember what the season is about. So instead of following traditions you no longer align with, create your own. I began baking Christmas cookies with my nephews and buying matching holiday pajamas.
Your holiday season doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s! Surround yourself with the people that mean the most to you, appreciate them, laugh with them and love on them hard. May everyone have a joyful and prosperous holiday season!