Despite the happy holiday signs we see all around us at this time of year, we remember that this is often a sad time for so many people. Maybe expectations at home and work are piling up. There could be financial pressure to buy into the holidays. Maybe an unexpected life change has you feeling blue? Maybe there is a realization that people we love may not be with us this year…

There are a lot of things that can make the holidays seem bittersweet. Some people may even be dreading the holidays this year and wish it was over already. Whatever the reason, remember that you don’t have to feel the same way others are feeling. You can feel exactly what you want to feel. Making a plan to meet challenges you’ll face this season can be a great mechanism to help you regain control over some fears and anxiety.

As Threads of Life family members, we navigate where our lives have gone – and start to figure out what is the new normal. Over time we may become more aware of triggers, how to incorporate healthy boundaries and just say “no” to adding on any more stress at this time of the year especially. Adapting or departing from traditions that are causing distress, or adding new traditions can help families through the holidays. Whether you throw up a tree or throw it out, do what you need to do – do things your own way.

Here are a few ways to help you survive through this season if you just aren’t into it. Surprisingly you may even find a bit of solace. While focusing on what matters the most in your life, you may bring a little more peace for your own well being at this time of year.

Trade your expectation for appreciation, and the world changes. ~ Anthony Robbins

Practice Gratitude: There are many benefits of practicing gratitude. Write a list of things you are thankful for, positives in your world both big and small. Put them down on paper, add to the list daily, reading the list often. Spend time letting those warm feelings soak in. Bathing yourself in gratitude and thankfulness isn’t a bad way to invest in you. Get creative with your list. Perhaps start a gratitude jar with pieces of paper that you can pick out and read over! Making sense of what you are feeling, and focusing on what you are grateful can instantly change your mindset and improve your mood.

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Give: You may not be able to change a lot about your own situation. But what if you were able to help someone else who is hurting? Make it a point to find a way to give. You can give your time, be kind, or donate to your favorite charity. Giving to others may help us see the world in a different way – the world outside of ourselves. It can also help us to come out of isolation and put our own troubles into perspective. There are a lot of meaningful ways to give. Giving your time to support someone else doesn’t even have to cost a penny. There isn’t a price tag on love and compassion. The possibilities are endless.

I am hoping you get through the holidays okay and remember that you are not alone!

Karen Lapierre Pitts
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