By: Daniel Rutley, Psy.D.
Daniel Rutley, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychotherapist in private practice in Mississauga. He is also the best-selling author of Escaping Emotional Entrapment: Freedom from negative thinking and unhealthy emotions. He specializes in depression, anxiety, anger, habit control and relationship issues. Daniel Rutley can be reached via: www.DanielRutley.com.
Every December I am more stressed and less happy than at any other time of the year. With so much to do I just don’t enjoy the “Holiday Season.” How can I have more fun and actually enjoy December again?
It’s ironic that the season billed as one of love, peace and harmony – for the vast majority of people – is filled with financial hardship, sadness, depression, frustration, resentment, hostility and endless family conflicts. It seems that the season of “Peace on Earth” is anything but.
The problem is not the season, it is our approach.
People want to blame everyone and everything else for their “humbug” attitude. Whether it is the crowds, commercialism, or irritating relatives, there are a thousand reasons to dislike this holiday season. When added up they do not outweigh the few reasons to really dive into it and enjoy yourself – share and experience love, remember the value of peace and what is truly important in our lives.
Unfortunately, much of what is truly important in our lives is easily forgotten in favor of rather insignificant aspects. Many people fret over what other people will think of them if the house is not spotless, the turkey dinner isn’t presented perfectly, or the holiday cards are not out on time.
Here are some things you can do to enjoy this holiday season.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Don’t ignore negatives, just look for the positive hiding within them. What you think will largely determine how you feel.
- Have a positive expectation of this holiday season. We tend to get not what we want but what we expect. Focus on what you are in complete control of…your attitude!
- Regardless of your life circumstance, have the attitude of making this season the best ever…for you. This is your life…make it wonderful. You deserve nothing less.
- Take things less seriously. Being light-hearted has never brought on a heart attack.
- Develop positive self-expression. Smile more. Compliment more. Be gracious and helpful. Slow down and relax.
- Most people take great satisfaction in helping others. This is a time of year to be extra attentive, kind, forgiving and caring. Take a few moments to help a stranger or smile at a tired store clerk to help relieve the pressure in his or her world.
- The best antidote to stress is to be more childlike and playful. Enjoy the moment. Remember what is important, your experience of life.
- Allow extra time for almost everything so you don’t feel rushed.
- Stop stressing to get irrelevancies accomplished – excessive cleaning or cooking. Don’t try to make everything perfect. Instead, make the season work for you. Make time for yourself.
- Enjoy the little things in life. When was the last time you stood outside during a snowfall trying to catch flakes on your tongue? Or made a snowman or angels?
- In any given situation, choose kindness over any other response.