What to Do for Peaceful Holidays. Strategies for Getting Happy.

Here are the some methods for getting happy over holidays. This is not all there is. It is a place to start.

 1. Gratitude makes holidays happy. My contention is that being grateful for people, places, and things in your life is a requirement for happy holidays.

2. Find satisfaction somewhere. Often we find immediate gratification in food, drink, or buying. Yet, none of us are really satisfied by those things.  Find what makes you happy now, something that supports you in maintaining happiness.  It may be writing, or communicating with friends who satisfy your heart. People can support you in enriching your life.  Maybe evaluating your life is what you want to do at this time of year. You may be thinking: But what about maintaining the friends who expect me to go out with them, eat or drink with them, smooze with them, buy for them.  What can I do to keep up with all that? You know the answer.

3. Relax. When you relax in one area of your life, you can relax in other areas. Vice versa: when you’re uptight in one area, you’re stressed everywhere. You choose. Relaxing helps you be present to whatever it is you do.  Even a little rest goes a long way. That way your mind is not running all over the place. After relaxing, your mind doesn’t insist that your body run all over the city. If you still need to, then your body will be more ready after relaxing.

4. Sidestep too much temptation. Know what you can handle and what you can’t. If I know there are cookies in the house, you will likely be hungry for them. So remove temptation if you know it is too much for you. That goes for drinking, eating, or doing too much. If you have a problem all year with these things, get professional help.

5. Follow your heart. Start now deciding what you will and won’t do. Remember that stress adds pounds. Give up what doe not work for you. If you love doing something, remember that you want to do it. Otherwise it could devolve into a stressful “job.”

6. Meditate.

7. Delegate.

8. Practice Extreme Self-Care, as author Cheryl Richardson would say. During the holidays, routines change.  Plan now to see to it that you, and your loved ones for whom you’re responsible, don’t get off course. If you or your relative is on nighttime medicine, take the medicine to parties and set an alarm, so you remember.  Most psychotropic medicines are taken in the morning, but there might be other night time medicines. Be vigilant with your health. Don’t let routines be forgotten.  Try not to go to bed late, two nights in a row.  Make a list of what you have let slide in the past, so you find strategies to support yourself and your loved one this year.  Pay attention to your needs.  You could be so distracted that you forget to notice when a cold is starting.  Just make a pact with yourself and let your subconscious support you.  You can tell your mind to wake up at a certain time.  Try it. 

. Get support for you from a friend, or professional, depending on what it is.

10. Barter. Ask a friend who likes to decorate to do your tree and do an exchange. Maybe you’ll clean for her. at another time. Go to a coach who will support you through the season. Consult your inner wisdom and consider what brings you magic.  What makes your heart sing?  Make a list and do what you can and no more. Give up obligation if it is killing your spirit. Know what tires you out. Do what works for you.

11. Give support. Enjoyment comes from simple pleasures, not things as much. You may want to donate money to charities, and/or work at a local charity.  Spread your talents.

12. Connect more deeply.  While doing what enriches your soul, do what encourages connection. Inquire into another’s life and acknowledge their successes.  Just being in the same space with people does not mean connection.

13. Create the magic. Everyone has different interests and talents that can be used during this time. For example, my husband Ed sings and we’re both good with words, so we create funny lyrics to old holiday songs just for our enjoyment. We sing together, though my singing voice is horrid. You can talk to family members about what makes each one happy. If someone likes to cook so you may trade recipes and cook together. You might read poetry to each other. You might find little ways to make each other happy. You can do thoughtful things all year long. This is a good time to practice new acts of kindness.

Holidays can bring magic. Winter holidays all represent sacredness. Hanukkah celebrates the Festival of Lights. Winter Solstice marks nature’s promise for the return of light on the darkest day.  The Christian tradition’s is all about the Son Light born into the world. The symbolic meaning is that our light, our sacredness, yours and ours is reborn.

That’s what I want to leave you with. You ARE the light. The holiday that you celebrate can increase your realization of the light within. Whatever you do, and whatever you celebrate, do it in JOY.