Many people dread the idea of shopping for Christmas gifts, decorating their house for the holidays, and having dinner gatherings with family members. If you are worried you might be the Grinch, don’t be. More people than you know also dread the holidays.
Festive holidays are meant to be joyful. However, studies has shown that stress and anxiety will be heightened especially during the holiday season. Reasons might be due to routines being interrupted – by travel, guests, parties and the holidays themselves. Hence, this can agitate and easily cause distress. Without any intervention, our discomfort for the holiday period may even grow with each passing year. This can have an effect on our overall ability to enjoy ourselves and our impact out sense of happiness.
The key to a joyful holiday depends on 3 things:
- Be involved with your family and friends
With the holidays looming, it is inevitable that our stress level may increase; and without realising it, we create an emotional distance with our family and friends. However, don’t let your packed daily schedules impede on this opportunity to unwind from your hectic schedules and reconnect with your family members and friends. Plan outings or simply take a much-deserved vacation by pampering you and your loved ones. Share with them your worries, grievances or anything that has been bothering you. This is one way to de-stress and self-reflect.
- Be open-minded (Be open to creating memories/tradition together – holiday traditions)
At times we may not see the value of spending quality time together. Some may have this mindset, thinking “Why should we spend time only now, when most of the time we weren’t there for them?” This negative mindset can prevent us from enjoying our life to the fullest. Just picture yourself being alone without good memories to reminisce about. Get your child to teach you how to play a video game or participate in holiday activities such as baking, cooking or carolling with your family. Memories, especially joyful ones, can fortify relationships with your family and friends. This can increase your level of happiness when you have memories to look back on.
- Appreciate the moment
Some of us have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like and are very disappointed when they do not live up to those expectations. It is important not to fall into this trap. For example, the pressure of ensuring the food prepared are delicious for family gathering might get to you, due to your own high expectation. Instead focus on enjoying the moment of preparing food for your family to feast on later. Give back to charity by donating gifts to the orphanage or be a volunteer at sheltered homes. Appreciation is the joy felt on seeing the good in something or someone. It is a mental state that imparts happiness and motivates you to do more.
The holiday season can bring mixed emotions. For some, it is just another normal day where the festivity happening around them can drain out their energy. To others, it is a time to sit back and spend time together with their family and friends. It is up to us to control our mindset and emotions to be able to achieve happiness. Remember that focusing on yourself and your family, the spirit of giving, and maintaining a low stress environment are the ingredients for holiday happiness.
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