Most of the time, holiday posts are filled with positive thoughts and cheery greetings but the reality is that for many people, holidays don’t always represent those wonderful moments. Family issues, substance abuse, difficult or controlling personalities, and over high expectations can get in the way of even looking forward to the holidays. What if you add to those issues unhappiness in your job, unfulfilled career goals, or even job loss during the holidays?
Suddenly everything becomes worse because society keeps presenting holidays to us filled with everything sweet and light. My friend, Yolanda DeLoach captured this well in her post, 11 Thoughts Behind The Smiles of A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving. She gives solid examples of what people may actually be thinking and how to be thankful about where you are now even when that isn’t a perfect place.
Bumps and Bruises of the holidays
When you are unhappy at work or unemployed, it is hard to focus on the positive. You find yourself comparing yourself to others and feeling like you just don’t measure up. When other things are melting down, a bad marriage, children in trouble, substance abuse, or financial troubles, you start thinking that everyone has it better than you do. You may have a family member who continually puts you down and you have internalized their words into your life. You focus on your deficiencies and assume that everyone has it better than you. The reality is that no perfect people live on earth and though you may not see other people’s issues, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
10 Actions you can take to stay strong during the holidays
- Stay active. Whether you exercise, take a walk or run, or simply do some extra cleaning, you will do better staying active.
- Don’t focus on what you don’t have. You don’t have to fall for all the glitz. Keep it simple.
- Build new traditions. Find things to do that are cost-free. Build snowmen, make hot chocolate, or take walks in winter wonderland if you are in the northern states.
- Help someone. It could be your elderly neighbor who needs light bulbs changed or sidewalks shoveled. It could be the local food pantry or homeless shelter. When you give to others, your own problems often get smaller.
- Find pleasure in little things. Read a book, make a puzzle, or have a family game night.
- Eat healthy. You don’t need every fattening tradition during the holidays. Healthier choices leaves less regret.
- Learn something new. With education at your fingertips with our abundant technology, you can learn new things easily and often for free.
- Share your feelings with someone you trust. If you continue to internalize the way you feel, it can become an endless cycle.
- Keep an gratitude journal or notes. Writing things down is helpful to make you remember the good things.
- Say thank you to someone who helped you along the way.
It isn’t easy but there is no reason to continue this cycle. You can break it.
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