Here we are, December again! For all the joy and merriment imposed on us, sometimes we feel anything but jolly. The holidays can be physically, financially, and emotionally demanding, stressful, and overwhelming. They can dredge up old struggles and hurts.
Many of us feel lonely, unworthy, and/or simply sad throughout the holiday season, for a variety of reasons. I recently met a couple of young mothers who shared their stories with me. It reminded me of my own journey. As a single mother of two for 18 years, I have definitely suffered from financial stress, isolation, and feeling inadequate. One new mother is juggling a full-time job, school, and caring for a 10 month old. The second mother confided she isn’t going to pay some bills this month so she can afford to buy Christmas presents for her two children. These stories fill me with empathy and “been there, done that.” Can anyone relate?
But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be like this. It’s important to reach out and ask for help. People want to give, even if it’s just a listening ear or word of encouragement. In fact, now may be the right time to schedule your complimentary 30 minute wellness coaching session.
The time to capture the joy is now. Here are some actionable steps you can take today to increase feelings of connection, warmth, hope, and contentment:
1.) Let go of expectations of how the holidays should be. Ignore the commercials and ads! Cut down on social media if you need to. Social media is just the “highlights,” not real life.
2.) Adopt a nonjudgmental view. That means stop judging yourself, your situation, and others. It is what it is. A sense of humor helps, too!
3.) Focus on goodness. Yep, you’ve heard about an “attitude of gratitude.” It works. One client I know keeps a small notebook in her purse. Once a day, she writes down one thing (sometimes more) what’s good, what she’s thankful for. If we can shift from a negative mindset, to a positive and grateful one, wonders can happen.
4.) Reach out to your trusted supporters. Could be a friend, family member, colleague, professional. Make a point to have interactions with people who lift you up, encourage you, empower you. Limit time with people who drag you down (easier said than done, I know, especially if you’re related to them!)
5.) Don’t neglect self-care. Get enough sleep. Take a quiet evening walk and admire the lights. Soak in the bath. Drink a homemade cup of cocoa. Get a massage. You get the picture – try to pamper yourself in simple ways in the midst of all the demands.
6.) Remember you don’t have to spend money to get in the holiday spirit. Volunteer with a charity. Attend free community events. Read children’s Christmas books or sing carols. Really!
And remember, practice makes better. Not perfect. Better. Keep practicing changing your thought processes, actions, and behaviors. Little by little, you can and will feel WELL.
Take good care,