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Living Happier Through the Holidays

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Recently I stumbled upon this quote and it made me laugh because it is so true!!

“We’re human. We all occasionally wet ourselves. No one is really better than anyone else. We’re just all trying to make it through the year as best we can. We screw up sometimes. We succeed sometimes. We laugh. We cry. We go on.  Those are the things we should really share with each other this holiday season, right, if we dare send a letter? We should share the truth. We should share the insanity.”

The Holidays are a time FILLED with emotions.  Joy, sadness, excitement, anxiety, fear, dread and happiness are felt at multiple times throughout these next 6 weeks.  As we enter into the frenzy that is November and December.  I thought I would offer some tips for Living Happier through the Holiday Season.

Breathe
Frequently we get so caught up in the frenzy that is the holidays—shopping, parties, cooking, baking, wrapping—we forget to relax and breathe.  Take some pause time and savor the time of year.  Savor your family, friends, the joy of watching your children unwrap their presents, or the beauty of the tree or the fun of gathering with friends or family.  Take time to breathe, sleep and eat properly.  Take care of yourself.

How do you want to feel?
How do you want to FEEL this holiday season?   When you ask yourself how you want to feel you can then make a plan accordingly.  You can set your course for the holidays based on you and what YOU want and need for yourself and your family.

Have a plan
What is it YOU want to get out of the holidays? What is your favorite part of the holiday season?  Finding the perfect gift, wrapping, baking cookies or hanging with family?  What is your least favorite part?  Finding the perfect gift, wrapping, baking cookies or hanging with family?  Make sure you engage in the activities you enjoy and limit the activities you don’t enjoy.  No one says you HAVE to do everything—if you don’t like baking, buy the cookies. If you hate wrapping–use gift bags.  The holidays are suppose to be a time of joy, so pay attention to what you enjoy about the holidays and engage in those activities. AND when you have to engage in activities you don’t enjoy make sure you have built in time to re-fill your energy.

Make Small Changes
When we start making changes in our lives the temptation is always to go big.  We decide we need to do a mediation practice and we start meditating an hour a day.  We choose to workout and we commit to a 90 minute yoga class 3 times a week. These big changes might work for a period of time but eventually they fade off. When you know how you want to feel for the holidays you can then translate to that to what small changes you can make to achieve that feeling.

Setting Healthy Boundaries.
Spending time with Family isn’t always joyful. In fact sometimes it can be challenging and painful.  So remember that you might have to go to Aunt Sally’s for Christmas dinner but that doesn’t mean you have to stay 5 hours and engage in the passive aggressive banter.  It is important to maintain your own sense of self at family gatherings and if you have a family that is not supportive or tends to belittle you—you don’t have to engage in that behavior.  It is helpful to think of yourself in a plexiglass box.  As family members engage in activities or say things that are harmful or hurtful they just hit the box.  The negative patterns don’t have to stick to you or your self worth.

 

AND

The most important tip to Live Happier Through the Holidays is to:

Let go of perfection
The holidays, like life, are messy.  They rarely go according to plan so let go of the need for perfection.  Instead enjoy the foibles and mess-ups that happen because they are a part of the experience.  Again if you KNOW you love the act of baking cookies than the fact that one tray is a little too burnt it isn’t the end of the world, it is a part of baking.  There is no such thing as a perfect family holiday.  Families argue and fight presents get broken and mishaps happen. Rather than shooting for perfection find joy and humor in the inevitable mishaps.

May you and those close to you have a wonderful holiday season!

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Don’t forget to check out the Live Happier Loft’s upcoming workshops on Living Happier Through the Holidays. 

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