5 Ways to Lift Your Spirits During the Holidays 

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Mother and son at a Christmas market
We’re heading into the season of caroling, tinsel and lots of wrapping paper – all reasons for joy, right? Not necessarily for everyone. Despite lots of opportunities for family togetherness and time with friends around the holidays, some people find that these weeks can bring feelings of anxiety or even sadness. But there are ways to lift your spirits during the holidays. You just have to find the options that work best for you.
During the holidays, we tend to get lots of “extras” – extra activities, extra responsibilities, but not a lot of extra time to get everything done. Some of us find that piling things like gift shopping and hosting gatherings on top of our regular schedules can be overwhelming – and have us longing for the holidays to be over. It’s also a time when many of us miss our loved ones, either those who have passed away, or those who are too far away to celebrate with us. This can lead to feelings of sadness.
Let’s look at a handful of ways you can lift those spirits to match the season of joy and hope.
Togetherness takes planning. Nothing stresses some people out more than not having a plan when heading into a busy holiday season. If that’s you, put your calendar to good use. Mark down the dates of family and work parties. Then find free dates to pencil in the people you really want to spend time with. Away from a loved one during the holidays? Make plans to send their gift early so it arrives in time, then follow up with a call or video chat just to let them know how much you care. Every time you connect with someone you love, it can boost your mood.
Keep spirits up
Learn to say no. Sometimes, giving a negative answer is a positive for your stress level, according to the Mayo Clinic. Whether it’s an extra project at work, or a last-minute request to host a family gathering at your house, if you don’t have the time and you know it will raise your anxiety level, then decline. And don’t second-guess it. You’ll feel lighter knowing you made the right decision. 
Make time for yourself. This sounds simple, but it can be hard to do in the run-up to the holidays. If you normally work out, but you’re skipping the gym to cram in more holiday shopping, you’re not doing yourself any favors. In this busy season, it’s important to take some “me-time,” even if it’s just a couple hours to decompress and watch TV. But also, take advantage of the winter wonderland atmosphere for a snowy walk in the woods, or an evening stroll through your neighborhood to look at holiday lights and decorations.
Stick to a budget. Being worried about holiday spending can put you in a bad mood. Remove that obstacle to being merry by making a budget and sticking to it. If you’re hosting a dinner, set a limit for how much you’ll contribute, then ask guests to bring specific items to help fill the table. If you’re fretting about not having enough money for all the great gifts you want to buy, choose gift cards instead and accompany them with a thoughtful note about how much the person means to you.
Remember to laugh. Holiday parties can have a few perennially cranky people. For the sake of your own mood, limit your interaction with them. Sit by people you enjoy. Talk to people who tell great stories and make you laugh. You’ll feel so much better about how you spent your time.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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