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Make Your Holidays Fun and Meaningful

The holiday season is often considered to be the most wonderful time of the year, yet gift buying, parties, family gatherings, and feelings of grief or loneliness for loved ones who cannot be with us can also make us feel grumpy and irritable.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the holidays this year:

1. Create a clear intention for how you want to experience the holidays. Ask yourself what's most important to you and how you want to feel over the next few weeks. Even if you know you're going to be confronted with a challenging situation, setting a conscious intention of remaining calm and having fun both prior to and throughout an event can help smooth the way for an enjoyable time.

2. Remember that you can only control yourself. If you're anticipating a potentially challenging family situation, keep in mind that people will generally behave the way they usually do. While you can't control another person (and trying to do that can make things worse) you can control how you respond to others. Decide in advance how you want to manage yourself during difficult moments in a way that feels healthy for you and minimizes drama.

3. Know your limits and set your boundaries. Make time to consider your choices ahead of time and remember to include time for rest and rejuvenation. If you tend to say yes to everything and notice that you feel antsy and overwhelmed, perhaps dialing things back a little will create more of the experience that you desire.


Success Tip: It's helpful to remember that holiday family visits are temporary and are often not the time to hash out or resolve long-standing conflicts. Focusing on the present moment and the possibility of a pleasant exchange is more likely to contribute to a positive experience. Avoid replaying old tapes.

Holidays can bring up a lot of emotions. Remember that making plans in advance to spend time with people who are important to you activates your sense of connection and releases the "happy hormone" oxytocin. Choose what is meaningful to you.

Dawn Nelson, MSW, CHT, CPC

Professional Coaching Services

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