How To Survive (And Look Forward To) The Holidays

My favourite time of the year. For so many reasons. Reflection, Gratitude, Learning, Goal Setting. I love the whole process and this is a natural time of year to get it.

The holidays are not great for everyone though. Our losses seem more profound during the holidays. We see more of what we’re missing. More of who we’re missing. Here’s some tips to start making this a season that you can start looking forward to.

1. Slow down. This season is busy, commercial, rushed, expensive and frenzied. Don’t be so busy with the busyness that you miss the opportunity for the beauty. Appreciate shorter days and longer periods of darkness. Use that time to be still. Allow yourself to learn how to be quiet. Still. Settled. Learn the value of being present.

2. Indulge your Senses. This is a time of year when sights, sounds, smells, and flavours are abundant. Notice each one. Savour and indulge each one. This can help you become more present, it helps slow you down, it helps things settle. Give and receive hugs and physical affection this year as part of that. Enjoy closeness with the right people.

3. Gratitude. In these slow times, reflect on what you’re grateful for. All the good things of the day, week, month, year. Studies show that people with gratitude practices have lower incidences of depression. This is a perfect time to start one. It can help combat seasonal depression as well as holiday blues.

4. Be Generous. To others, to yourself. Volunteerism also combats depression. It gets you out of your own way and focuses on someone or something else. Be generous with your love and time and energy to the right people. Be generous in your forgiveness of others and yourself. This is not a time to hold onto grudges. That’s useless and brings toxic energy from one year into the next. Make things right with others. Make things right with yourself. Forgive yourself for whatever it is you are holding onto that you’re allowing to hold you back from this year or many years. Make things right with this season. Look for the good in it.

Create rituals, experiences, mindfulness around the holiday season to start reframing it as a time of celebration but also a time of gratitude and growth. Be good to yourself and others now and all year long. Make peace this year.

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