The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. Family, friends, food, fun, and faith are some of the common threads that bring people together and encourage celebration. However, for many people, this time of the year brings feelings of stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. As beautiful as these times are, often, things get in the way that cause one to wish the holidays would end quickly. If you find yourself not enjoying this time as much as you would like, here are 12 things to remember:
1. Love and giving are not just for the holidays, but for every day of the year. Practice sharing and loving each day and when the holidays come around, it will be a part of your nature.
2. Be intentional about enjoying the holidays. By making a choice to be happy and enjoy, you will actually find yourself in that sweet spot of positivity and cheer.
3. Be in the moment. It’s not enough just to feel good, but be aware of this feeling and savor any moments of well-being that you encounter.
4. Be grateful and show it. Life tends to stop at many points and in different places, and it’s up to us to be appreciative of each experience. Thankfulness always connects us to something greater.
5. Kindness is a gift we wrap by our spirits. Nothing can stop us from being kind and expressing kindness even to difficult people. Kindness is a wonderful gift that we can keep giving beyond the holidays.
6. Leave your smartphone behind. We are one of the most connected generations ever. Research shows that Americans check their phones over 8 billion times a day. During this time, don’t take your smartphone out or check it. Take time talking to and laughing with people face-to-face.
7. Be present and enjoy the presence of others. We spend much time buying gifts and sending cards, but one of the best gifts we can give is to be present in the lives of those we love.
8. Take a break and breathe. If you begin to feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a break, grab a cup of coffee, take a walk, or read a book. Get out of the doing mode and just relax.
9. Be happy. Research shows that happiness is contagious — it rubs off on other people. If you are happy and express happiness, more than likely, the people around you will be happy too.
10. Practice generosity. Giving and sharing, even in the simplest ways, expand feelings of cheer and goodwill within. When you do something for someone without expecting anything in return, let yourself feel the joy of generosity.
11. Learn to have fun. For many people, when they were kids, they played and had fun. Rediscover what it means to play and have fun, to take delight in going to the movies, playing video games, doing cartwheels, or whatever you like to do. Play and fun are gifts in life that offer great rewards.
12. Be yourself and let others be themselves. The worst thing you can do is pretend to be someone you’re not and attempt to change others around you into something they are not. Set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others. Remember, all people, whether they admit it or not, are works in progress.
Holidays were created to be fun and enjoyable. Yours can be too. Embrace these times of wonder and delight, and if need be, let it embrace you as well. Allow yourself to benefit from peace, goodwill, and cheer.