Do the holidays have you stressed and pressed? Are you buckling under the yuletide pressure to buy the perfect gifts for your loved ones? Is it hard for you to remember the “reason for the season”?
Listen. The holidays can be fraught with angst and stress, despite the happy faces we put on for the public. There’s the obligatory work parties to contend with, along with various family functions and family drama, financial pressures, year-end job stresses, etc. It’s enough to make even the jolliest of souls a little crazy.
If you’re feeling “Bah Humbug” and have lost your holiday spirit, here are 5 simple ways to lift your mood and end 2018 on a positive note:
1. VOLUNTEER: You know that non-profit or charity that you’ve always admired from afar, but never really got to see how they do what they do? Well, here’s your chance to get up close and personal with them! Volunteering your precious time helping others is a wonderful way to give back to your community and improve your mood. I know you’re busy, but even 2-3 hours will do the trick. Giving your time and talents to those less fortunate than you is great way to change your perspective about your own life, reminding you of your many blessings. So, go ahead and call that charity or non-profit and ask how you can help for a few hours this holiday season.
2. DONATE: If you don’t have a lot of spare time to volunteer with your favorite charity or non-profit, writing a generous check may be just what you need to lift your spirits. Every organization that’s working hard to make the world better could certainly use an infusion of cash, and you’ll be able to take another tax write off for 2018. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. You can even go a step further and ask your friends and family to donate, as well; or, make the donation in their names. This will get everyone in your circle in the giving mood and do some real good for others, too. After all, it is better to give than to receive.
3. VISIT A CHURCH (or other place of worship) DIFFERENT FROM YOUR OWN: Even if you already have a church home (or if you don’t), visiting a different place of worship during the holidays can be a beautiful, uplifting experience. There’s something about strangers coming together for praise and worship that reminds us of our common humanity. Hearing different testimonies, sermons, and even hymns can offer you a fresh perspective on your own faith, and strengthen the bonds you already have with the Almighty. Besides, being welcomed into a new or different place of worship can tap into a level of love you’ve never before experienced, and you just may get some new friends out of it.
4. ADOPT A CHILD OR FAMILY FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Check with your pastor or others who are “in the know”, and select a child or family in need to “adopt” for the holidays. You could buy toys or presents for the child(ren), or provide a delicious holiday meal with all the trimmings. Maybe they need coats, boots, or other winter-wear. Or maybe they need a utility bill paid. Whatever they need, your generosity will go directly to someone who could use it. Again, giving to someone less fortunate than you not only helps others, but will surely put you in the holiday spirit.
5. UNPLUG, DISENGAGE, AND JUST RELAX: Maybe what you really need is to simply re-charge. You’ve been running all year, working hard, and probably putting others’ needs before your own. In fact, you’ve probably worn yourself out taking care of everyone else. If this is the case, then you need to take some time to unwind, relax, and allow yourself the time and space to reflect and re-charge. Logoff your social media accounts for a few days and disengage from all the noise and madness. Treat yourself to long baths and afternoon naps. Have a spa day. Catch up on some reading. Spend a day or two in bed watching sappy, Hallmark movies; or binge watch that show everyone’s been talking about, but you haven’t had a chance to see. Take some time for renewal and refreshment before you tackle a new year.
The holidays can be hard to get through, and many people really struggle with sadness, depression, and/or grief. These tips are merely quick fixes and won’t help someone who’s really suffering. If you’re having a harder time than usual this year, please reach out to your loved ones or seek professional help. The suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. You don’t have to suffer alone.