Hello! Stop what you’re doing, wrapping, planning Holiday meals, travel plans, shopping, entertaining, decorating, and take a big deep breath, smile slightly, and say to yourself: “I don’t need to do all this. I choose to do all this because the end results makes me happy, and the people around me happy. The world won’t end if I take this moment to myself, and let myself know that I am enough.”
Now that you’ve done that here are some practical steps to allow yourself to be merry this season:
- Stop obsessing about holiday events that you’re dreading. Don’t feel guilty that you don’t want to attend, realize that it’s only a couple hours out of your season, and take a “sacred pause”(see above). Before you enter the event you’re dreading take a deep breath, feel your body’s tenseness and release it with your exhale. Repeat at the end, and think how great it feels that it’s over.
- Write down 3 good things about your day at the end of day(it might even be that event you didn’t want to go to in the first place). This could be a very surprising exercise. This habit actually activates brain regions associated with dopamine, that influences pleasure, behavior, and motivation.
- When others say stupid things like “What are you a Scrooge”, and your blood begins to boil, remind yourself that you’re feeling pressured to be happy. This will trigger brain changes that reduce the impact of guilt and sadness.
That’s it! Of course I’m sure you have other tricks up your sleeve. Try to remember to enjoy your silences, your memories from holidays past, the funny things that happened during stressful situations, and how in the end those are the things that are minor.