While this time of year brings sparkly lights, Santa lists and jolly, it’s not always a happy time for everyone. Facing a disease, the death of a loved one, infertility, relationship issues or other can make the holiday season a challenging time. As a three time cancer survivor and daughter who lost her dad to cancer, I understand the holidays can be difficult. Sometimes it’s just tough to channel jolly so I wanted to share tips for happiness during holidays.
The holidays can bring feelings of gratitude and blessing. But many people find the holidays a challenging time of year. There are those of us who experienced the death of a loved one, some face relationships ending or are lonely being single. Some ache for a child as they go through fertility issues or can’t have their own children. Some don’t live near family, feeling loneliness. Others are facing a serious disease like cancer and struggle to find happiness while going through chemo or other treatment.
If you’re feeling a lot of emotions this holiday season due to a life challenge or something else, show yourself kindness. No matter how big or small your emotions. These are some tips for happiness during holidays because sometimes we forget to acknowledge our emotions and struggles. But it’s important to do that and look for opportunities to be happy and focus on the positive surrounding us.
Tips for happiness during holidays:
Take time for yourself. This is a time that you should focus on your needs, especially if you’re feeling drained from an illness or other life challenge. When I was diagnosed earlier this year with breast cancer, my surgeon pushed me on ‘you do you,’ basically allowing myself to focus on my needs and take care of myself (read the post on ‘you do you‘ care tips). Such a basic principle but so important. Not sure why we feel the need to have permission to focus on us without feeling selfish, but, alas, I guess that’s our societal pressures. So if you need permission, here it is!
Spend time with happy people. Who doesn’t enjoy time with happy people?! I’m blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people who make me smile. It helps when I’m feeling blah. Even when I was getting chemo incursions during breast cancer treatment earlier this year, my mom and I would be laughing at silly things. It made the treatment seem faster and my mind was focused on happy emotions rather than the heavy it could have. Happy people help change your perception to better manage any situation.
List 5 activities that make you happy and do them. These activities can be with others or without. In fact, I like a blend. You only have to read a few blog posts or follow me on Instagram to know my happy place is outdoors, especially on a bike or hiking in the woods. So I make sure I find time for these activities as much as possible. I also enjoy reading so I visited the library last week to check out a few books. A romantic comedy, political thriller and teen book I’m reading with my nephew. All fiction because I want to escape to new places right now. I also love my Zumba class. Between the upbeat, fun music and dancing with my girlfriends, I always leave feeling happy.
Treat yourself to something nice. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. A little treat to make you smile. As a single woman, I sometimes buy myself little gifts. And I don’t justify. No husband or children are going to so why not? Regardless if you have a husband and children, treat yourself to something that makes you smile. A massage, new shirt, coffee, journal, book, anything!
Listen to happy music. No sappy love songs or melodramatic music here. Those can be great music selections but not when you’re feeling blah. I like to turn on upbeat songs that I can sing and dance to, and my mood almost instantly turns happy! Research shows that music can reduce anxiety and blood pressure and increase mental alertness and happy emotions. Music can also help us recall memories – I admittedly listen to Neil Diamond, Bob Seger, Kenny Rogers and others when I want to feel close to memories of my dad as he often played these musicians.
Acknowledge your feelings. Give yourself permission to have emotions, no matter what those are. Feel like crying? Yelling into a pillow (or aloud)? Need to release some emotions on a boxing bag? Do it all!
Learn the beauty of ‘no.’ Despite societal pressures, we don’t have to do it all. I don’t even know what busy means anymore because everyone uses it as their daily life description. Guess what though? It’s ok to say no to parties, sending out holiday cards, certain traditions, whatever. Do what works for you so you enjoy moments.
A simple tip is smile. It sounds funny but I find my mood lifting when I think of something or someone who makes me smile. Or sometimes I’ll simply smile at nothing. Then that usually makes me laugh at myself!
And if you know someone who might be struggling this holiday season, show them kindness. Offer some help, a listening ear, flexibility and simple understanding. We all deserve happiness during the holidays.
No matter what you’re facing this holiday season, I hope you find joy and love filling your life.