Vail Living with Vitality column: Three tips for beating the holiday blues
Living with Vitality
The holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving and continuing through the New Year, can be a very emotional time for many, if not all, of us.
For some, these emotions are happiness and joy, as we reflect on all for which we are thankful, what we have accomplished over the past year and the great and loving relationships we share with friends and family. They can also be filled with excitement and anticipation as we consider the festive decorations and special times spent with those same family and friends.
For others, the holidays bring emotions that are far less joy-filled. They bring sadness, tears and confusion, as we remember loved ones who are no longer with us. They bring anxiety and stress over expectations that we’re sure, yet again, will not be met. They bring fear, and perhaps even dread, around loneliness or challenging family patterns that seem to resurface and ruin the holidays for us, year after year.
What emotions do the holidays conjure for you?
If you are one of the lucky ones who experiences mostly pleasure through the holidays, keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing! If not, here are a few tips for beating the holiday blues and bringing a little joy and excitement back into the Christmas season:
1. Embrace whatever emotions you are feeling around the holidays. Our emotions are meant to be information to help guide us through our lives. So whatever emotions you are feeling, feel them completely and listen to what they are trying to tell you.
Don’t wallow in your negative emotions, but rather, be empathetic toward them. Treat them as if they are dear friends. For instance, acknowledge that the sadness you feel at the loss of a loved one comes only because of the intense love you felt for that person while he or she was still in your life. What other negative emotions are you feeling that might have a positive opposite?
2. Be aware of the stories you are telling yourself about the holidays that are creating the negative emotions. Are those stories really true? Do you really have no one to spend the holidays with? Are there different or new decisions you can make about how you approach the holidays that might help you create a holiday experience that will be more joy-filled?
And those recurring family patterns — perhaps it’s time to gently and respectfully tell your mother that the way she speaks to you doesn’t feel good. Take a peek behind the blinders and be willing to open your your mind to options around the truth that you perhaps haven’t considered before.
3. Create a holiday experience that feels right for you. Imagine your perfect holiday. How does it sound? How does it look? How does it feel? Who is there with you? What of this image can you make come true with a little creativity and, perhaps, courage?
If you love the idea of gathering friends for a Christmas party, go for it! And if it ends up being a party of two, then believe that is exactly how it was meant to be! It is the season for believing, after all. You get to choose.
Yes, sometimes our emotions can get the best of us, and rightfully so. But this holiday season, I encourage you to treat your emotions as your friends, look for the silver linings when you’re feeling down, and believe that the holidays are enveloped in hope, grace and love. You just have to be willing to find it where you can and create it wherever you cannot find it!
Shannon Short is a life coach, a certified emotional intelligence assessor and accredited emotional intelligence coach who works with Vail Vitality Center clients. Visit http://www.vailvitalitycenter.com or call 970-476-7960 to learn more about the various programs offered this season that will help you maintain happiness and vitality during this busy season.