Well-Being for the Open-Minded Sceptic #15 – The Holidays!
The Holidays for some, lets call them “Group A”, is a bustling time full of activity, merriment and joy combined with a bit of over-indulgence and over spending. For others, “Group B.” The holidays are a non-event. This group turns a blind eye to holiday merriment, an out of sight out of mind concept. And then there is “Group C.” For this group it can be quite a lonely or stressful time of year. There is a big contrast here between the groups. But I will try to touch on some ideas to make it all a bit easier to handle no matter which group you fall under. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.
Group A: A number of factors can cause stress and anxiety at holiday time with this group, including unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and too many commitments: parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. Headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia are some of the possible consequences of poorly managed holiday stress. For this group, try setting realistic goals and expectations, reaching out to friends, sharing tasks with family members and finding inexpensive ways to enjoy yourself. Stick to a budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Food shopping, maybe you don’t have to make Aunt Betty’s famous green bean casserole this year. Have everyone bring a healthy dish to share. Let someone else help think of a game or two to play with the kids to keep them happy. Have a scavenger hunt, family charades, egg and spoon races etc. Do some brainstorming! Create some new traditions that are not all geared around presents and food!
Group B.) For this group, it seems like the Holidays are an excuse for people to act differently than any other time of the year. And this is true. For many (esp. Group A’s) the holidays are a time to unite old friends and family. Heck holiday songs and decorations have stopped wars for a day during World War I. But Group B people tend to see themselves as being more spontaneous or maybe just too busy! They don’t need a holiday, that doesn’t really matter to them, to do something special. In fact they might purposely do nothing just to prove a point. For this group, if you don’t decide to travel to some far away place, maybe you can try to make it more spontaneous! Try reaching out for friends or family members and give them your time instead of a fancy gift. Maybe you haven’t taken the time to reach out to people all year? Or perhaps you know someone who could use your friendship at this time because they are feeling lonely. You can try it on and see how it feels. Making others happy boosts your Oxytocin levels! Heck you can invite someone to dinner and cook Indian food, wear orange and play a sitar! Now that’s the Spirit!
Group C.) For this group there could be a number of reasons that the holidays make them sad. Perhaps someone close to them has recently died or they can’t be with loved ones. It helps to acknowledge these feelings and realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. But you could try to reach out to people if you feel lonely or isolated. You can seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. Helping others even when you are feeling down lifts Serotonin levels and that alone will make you feel better.
What it all boils down to is pretty much this… as said in a Facebook post that I saw the other day. I know! I know! How trivial, that I should refer back to social media for inspiration. But if you have or haven’t seen it, for me it pretty much nails it! So here it is a Holiday shopping list for all groups. This is a slightly modified version from the one on Facebook. So if you want it or not…It’s lifting my Oxytocin levels to share it with you!
Holiday To Do List: • Buy Presents – Be Present – Better for the soul • Wrap Gifts – Wrap someone in a hug – Makes you and the recipient feel better • Send Gifts – Send Peace – Raises the vibration of the planet • Shop for Food – Donate Food – Spread the love • Make cookies – Make Love – Better for the waistline! • See the lights – Be the Light – Better for everyone!