We are officially entering the holiday season. How does this fact land with you? Does watching endless holiday commercials fill you with glee for the coming festivities or does “bah humbug” come rolling off your tongue? Read on for 5 steps to overcome holiday ho-hum.

For some people, shorter daylight hours, cooler temperatures and bare trees, the stress of buying just the right presents or fixing everyone’s holiday favorites, can bring holiday happiness to a screeching halt. Possibly you are someone who spends time alone during this season watching others have what appears to be a 70’s sitcom-style perfect family holiday experience. Of course, appearances can be deceiving!

For many, this can be the beginning of a season of woe. Familiar feelings of separation, unmet expectations, loss, or just sadness begin to creep in at the edges; and, that season starts earlier every year. With no new episode of Ted Lasso to help lighten one’s mood and restore our faith in the kindness of community, what’s a person to do?

 

The Best Gift We Can Give Ourselves is Giving to Others

I spoke with a woman the other day about how unhappy she is in her life. She was very focused on what was not going well, how horrible her boss is to work for, how much she hates the work she is doing, and how terrible she feels all the time. I only had a couple of minutes in which to speak with her so I made one powerful suggestion: begin every day with the question, “What is the biggest impact I can have on someone else’s life today?” She immediately understood the intention behind the suggestion and said, “Oh, I get it… it’s not all about me.”

Yes. She got it.

The best gift we can give ourselves is giving to others.

During the holidays there are ample opportunities to give to others. We do this by helping to cook holiday meals or clean the house in anticipation of guests.  Spending time with people we enjoy and showing family and friends they are loved and appreciated by giving gifts large and small. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities at this time of year such as helping to feed and clothe the homeless or visiting older seniors at a retirement facility.

However, when you are feeling blue you are less likely to participate in giving to others or you might have a harder time seeing the possibilities. To avoid feeling down or to help yourself start to feel better, try these 5 steps to overcome holiday ho-hum. It only takes a few minutes each day, and it is guaranteed to take the focus off feeling lonely and help turn that frown upside down.

 

5 Steps to Overcome Holiday Ho-Hum: A Morning Practice

1. Set the intention to begin every day with this routine
2. After shutting your alarm, or when you wake, keep your eyes closed for a few minutes.
3. Take 3 deep breaths and slowly exhale.
4. Think of 3 things for which you are truly grateful. It might be as simple as gratitude for waking up at all, for having heat in the house, or for the blue sky. Or maybe for the big things like your family or your job. It can be anything.
5. Ask yourself the following question, “What is the biggest impact I can have on someone else’s life today?”

You don’t even need to have the answer. Just set the intention for being on the lookout for the biggest positive impact you can have on someone else throughout the day. Maybe it is just a smile you share with someone on the other side of a service counter, or maybe it’s something life-changing like giving someone a job. Just keep this question, “What is the biggest impact I can have on someone else’s life today?” in mind throughout the day and look for ways that you can act.

You never know, the smallest act of kindness can make someone’s day or maybe even save a life. Keep that in mind as you practice the 5 Steps to Overcome Holiday Ho-Hum and look for ways to gift yourself with the act of giving.  These are wonderful ways to make the holiday season more festive.

Wishing you a better holiday season.

If you suspect that you might be experiencing something more serious than the holiday blues please see this article about Seasonal Affective Disorder and seek help from a therapist or medical professional.