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How to Feel Festive When You’re Not in the Holiday Spirit

What has your 2022 been like? I know you’ve had some real joyous days in your year and that you had the strength and courage to overcome any obstacles that came your way. I trust you can rejoice in experiencing another year and hope you are looking forward to 2023. I am.

At Craft LifeStyle Management, 2022 has flown by as the team and I worked tirelessly providing compassionate care to those in states of transition or requiring companion care at home. But here we are again at “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Measure Your Mood

Are you in a festive mood? Do you have merriment in your soul, or are you feeling a bit blue this season? If so, you are not alone. For many, the lack of excitement for the holiday season is also matched by the feeling of guilt for its absence.

The holiday season can bring stress and depression. If we let it, this time of the year can be very demanding: shopping, baking, cooking meals, entertaining, cleaning, and attending gatherings outside of our own homes.

For some, poor health or concerns about a loved one’s health or even grieving a loss or death compounds the stress and depression. Many feel deep loneliness during the holidays.

Practical tips to minimize the stress that comes with the holidays

  • Recognize your holiday triggers. Maybe these are financial pressures or personal demands. Plan ahead for gift giving by setting a budget and shopping throughout the year. But now that the holidays are here, and it’s too late to shop throughout, don’t stress. Look at your list. Is there a way to minimize it? Is it truly necessary to buy for everyone on that list? NOTE: A few years back I found the courage to ask a group of friends if a gift exchange was really necessary between all of us? To my surprise, everyone was thrilled not to exchange. Now, our gift is not gifting anymore. 🎁🎁 Remember. Gifts do not equal happiness or replace face-to-face connection. Create a list and stick to it. Cut back on the entertaining and baking. Learn to say, “No.” Friends will understand if you cannot attend every party or event.
  • Lower expectations. Let’s be real. Christmas feels more festive as a child, or when children are present because there’s a sense of excitement and magic. Don’t set yourself up for failure thinking that you’ll feel this same youthful wonder as you age. Anticipation leads to disappointment. Practice being in the moment. Enjoy the holiday you have not the one you had in the past or the one you hoped you’d have.
  • Appreciate your loved ones for who they are. Hoping and wishing someone in your family was different or acted in a more mature way rarely causes them to change for the family holiday gathering. This holiday, accept your loved ones for who they are. Avoid bringing up contentious subject matter and past grievances. Save these conversations for a more appropriate time.
  • Stick with healthy habits. Overindulging in food or alcohol only makes you feel guilty, especially if you’ve been working hard on wellness all year. Eat a healthy snack before going to holiday parties. Limit your alcohol consumption. NOTE: Alcohol is a depressant and may make you feel worse. Get plenty of sleep and keep to your exercise routine. Remember to take your medications. Also, avoid obsessing on others’ photographs on social media highlighting their celebrations and livelihood. Unbeknown to many, this causes considerable undue stress.
  • Engage in self-care. It’s amazing what even 15 minutes alone can do to boost your spirits. Take a relaxing bath. Read a good book. Paint your nails. Go on a lovely winter hike. Fresh air and exercise improve your mental health and are a great way to de-stress. Saying “No” is also a means of self-care.
  • Think of others. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Facetime with friends and family in other states. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or at the local hospital or nursing home. Buy gifts from local artists and small businesses.Host a zoom caroling event.
  • Ask for help. Assign entrees or side dishes to family coming to the holiday dinner. Enlist your children, partner or friends to help decorate your home. Shop with a friend. Lean on your support system if you are overwhelmed. Reach out to a mental health professional if you are feeling severely depressed. They will be able to help you navigate your overwhelming emotions and offer ways to manage symptoms.

Ways to Feel More Festive

  • Decorate your home. Pull out the old ornaments and recall the story associated with each as you place it on the tree. Sit by the lit tree after work. There is something calming and relaxing associated with Christmas tree lights.
  • Send Christmas cards. Make a list and mail cards to elderly relatives and other friends and family who don’t regularly see your social media posts.
  • Bake treats. Drop them off at the local police or fire station, a homeless shelter or at a select list of your favorite service providers.
  • Watch holiday movies. These movies start airing already in early November. Check the listings and find your favorite ones, or find a new one.
  • Listen to Christmas music. Songs of your youth will bring back many cherished holiday memories.
  • Start a new tradition. Attend a basketball game on Christmas Day or go to the movies. Get your family to agree to skip gift giving and instead donate money to a charity. Or splurge on a family get-away, a bucket list location.

Remember, it’s okay not to feel like Jolly Old St. Nick during the holiday season. Be kind to yourself and your loved ones. However, and with whomever, you celebrate the holiday season, my wish is that your heart is full of love and your days content. 🎄🎁😊

As always, if Craft LifeStyle Management can assist you and your family in any way, contact us. We are here to serve you. ❤-Denise-

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