Many articles I see this time of year seem to be aimed at what to do in order to survive the holidays. This holiday season will be very difficult for some of you. Perhaps you’ve lost someone you love, or you don’t have the resources to provide for your family and friends the way you wish, or you might be spending Christmas alone, without friends or family nearby. Regardless, there are things you can do to enjoy this holiday season, rather than just survive it. Research has shown spending time with friends and family and engaging in your religious traditions increase one’s happiness during the holidays. I added a few more of my own ideas to help make Christmas an enjoyable and relaxing time, rather than a time filled with stress.
Friends and family.
Emphasize and focus on enjoying close relationships and togetherness, rather than the hustle and bustle and gift-giving traditions of the holidays.
Spend time honouring the religious traditions you hold important.
Do things you enjoy, and be sure to physically take care of yourself through regular exercise, relaxation, and getting enough sleep. Take advantage of the snowfall and spend time snowboarding or snowshoeing.
Do Christmas obligations have you dreading time with family? Feel free to stay for a few hours, rather than the whole day. Mention briefly in a phone call, you would be happy to come for dinner, from about 1-3. Now you’ve set a time window you and your host are aware of and can plan on.
Time with friends and family doesn’t need to happen every minute. Go for a walk during a gathering, or steal a few moments to yourself in a quiet room.
Red coffee cups.
Find the little things you enjoy this holiday season, whether it is snow decals on windows, red coffee cups, or the promise of a day in the mountains. Smile when you notice these things and be pro-active in your attitude towards enjoying this holiday season.
Karyn Zuidhof, MA
Karyn is a Registered Psychologist, who primarily practices from a Cognitive Behavioural perspective. She received training from Dr. David Burns, and loves collaborating with her clients to find the thoughts and actions creating obstacles in their lives, and leading them through steps to test if these thoughts and actions are true and helpful.
Reference: Kasser, T., & Sheldon, K. M. (2002). What makes for a merry Christmas? Journal of Happiness Studies, 3 (4), p. 313-329.