Yes it's that time of year again, the season to be jolly. So why might you be starting to feel a creeping sense of anxiety and even a little bit of dread?
The truth is this time of year often finds most of us scrambling around trying to get everything done. Buying presents, wrapping up our work and making travel arrangements. By the time the holidays finally arrive, we're usually so tired that in our rush to relax we forgo all the small habits that make it possible to flourish during the year. Then before we know it the holidays are almost over and we're starting to wonder just how we'll get through the year ahead.
To be honest, it's exhausting just thinking about it.
You see as our expectations rise and our routines are disrupted around this time of year, it's easy to start spiraling down towards a place of overwhelm, tiredness and even a sense of helplessness.
So what are the small changes you can make to help you flourish during this holiday season?
Professor Martin Seligman - viewed by many as the founding father of positive psychology - proposes that in order to flourish we need:
- The presence of positive emotions,
- The chance to be regularly engaged in what we're doing,
- The opportunity to connect with others,
- A sense of meaning and purpose in our lives, and
- The feeling that we're accomplishing things that matter.
Being mindful of where you are on each pillar and the tested, practical ways you can make adjustments as required, is the secret to flourishing rather than floundering at this time of year. Why? Well studies have found that when you flourish, you're able to feel good and function effectively.
To feel more consistently jolly during these holidays why not try:
- Making time to feel good. Try to create moments of heartfelt positivity each day. Get out into nature, maintain your exercise (even if you're slowing it down from your usual pace), make time to meditate (even five minutes of slow breathing before Christmas lunch can help), find reasons to laugh and listen to music you love.
- Getting engaged each day. This is a great time of year to exercise your strengths - those things you're good at and enjoy doing. Spend at least 11 minutes each day over the holidays developing one of your strengths - like creativity, curiosity, kindness, hope or humor - to feel immersed in life and improve your sense of confidence, energy and wellbeing.
- Letting yourself truly be connected with others. Be it family, friends or strangers this is a time of year when we yearn to feel respected, valued and appreciated. To know that we matter and are worthy of love. Take the time to practice kindness and express your gratitude towards others. It's the best gift you can give.
- Tuning into what gives you meaning and living purposefully. Don't just tick the days off your calendar, make each day count by having a clear "want-to" goal about what you hope this holiday season will be. It might be: "Making time to slow down and connect with the people you love"; "Reaching out to others less fortunate then yourself"; "Restoring your energy and renewing your focus so you can flourish in the year ahead". You won't get these days again, so how can you live this time purposefully?
- Keep growing so you can prepare yourself for the year ahead. The holidays are a wonderful time to challenge the mindsets that might be holding you back. As you think about the new-year and all you want to achieve, try to focus on the efforts you want to be making and not just the outcomes you want to reach. This way you'll have the grit to be able to show up, shine and succeed.
For more practical and playful ways to thrive during these holidays and into the new year, grab these free e-cards for more tested, busy-proof ideas.