For many people, the end of the year festivities are a time of joy and warmth, a time for nostalgia, and a time to celebrate with the loved ones in our lives.
But what time is it for others?
Those troubled by ugly memories of holidays past rather than ones filled with light and love.
Those who with the dreaded family get-togethers that you really can’t get out of but desperately want to.
And those who are alone for the holidays and don’t want to be.
How do we make this time not suck?
Here are some ideas:
1. Remember that this, too, shall pass.
Yes, I’ve used this phrase before. And I shall use it again and again and again.
Because no truer words have ever been spoken.
Even though The Holidays now start as soon as the last candy is nabbed from a neighbor on Halloween and last for about two full months, they’re going to pass.
Just like they do every year.
You’ll get through this year, too.
2. Don’t blow your dread out of proportion.
“I can’t stand the holidays!”
“Not another horrible dinner with my dad and his wife and her four bratty kids – I’ll never make it!”
“I’m the only one I know who doesn’t have somewhere to go and people to be with during the holidays.”
Your holidays aren’t fun, it’s true.
But do you make them suck even more by dwelling on your negative thoughts about them?
Try this instead: When you find yourself thinking your old thoughts that create dread in the very core of your being, just notice them and let them float away as though they are on a cloud in a breeze.
What usually happens is we go on and on and on in our minds about a thought, like this:
“Not another horrible dinner with my dad and his wife and her four bratty kids – I’ll never make it! All of that noise and shouting with those kids running at full tilt in the living room. And I never get any time with my dad since he has to do whatever Sheila says. …
It happens to most of us every day. And most everyday stressors are things that we can handle fairly easily if we just remember a few simple strategies:
The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that wanders throughout the body. Stimulation of the vagus nerve tends to slow your heart rate and create a calming response.
The easiest way to engage the vagus?
Take a deep breath.
Both moving your diaphragm and the exhalation part of the breath will put your vagus nerve in gear and help reduce your body’s stress response.
When you find yourself stuck in traffic and late for an appointment, how do you react? Does your grip tighten on the steering wheel? Do you start talking to the traffic, cursing its slowness and bemoaning your fate?
Let’s get something straight: You can’t control the traffic.
All of your moaning, cursing, grip-tightening, pulse-elevating behavior is not going to get that traffic to move.
So why curl yourself into a stress ball over it?
Since there’s nothing you can do about it, just relax. Being uptight isn’t going to get you to your appointment any faster and it’s likely only doing damage to your body rather than helping you in any way.
It’s hard to release control, but there is a large percentage of our stress that is directly related to trying to control things that we will never have any control over whether it’s traffic, weather, your company’s promotions policy, or someone else’s behavior.
It’s okay to take action when and where it is needed and you can actually have some influence, but learn to be okay with not controlling the things that are out of your control.
So you’re late for your appointment and stuck in traffic. You’ve tied yourself in knots fretting about being late.
There. Has that helped anything?
Let me ask you this: How many times in the past have you been late for an appointment?
And, when you were late for past appointments, did …
And maybe your nights because you can’t sleep due to worry?
While worry is a common human behavior, too much of it can add unnecessary stress to your life which can cause health problems which can . . .
I better stop before you start to worry about this.
Here’s a list of three reasons people worry and three ways to change for good.
You can bounce back from the tough times in life by using any number of skills that help improve your resiliency. Here’s a quick list of some of the most useful tips with some helpful links included.
Remember that most of these are a practice. You’re not expected to master them overnight. But go ahead and pick out one or two – or fourteen! – to try.
1. Accept what is.You’ve got a bad situation in front of you and it’s time to become completely honest with yourself and really seewhat is happening. No more denial or wishful thinking that it will get better. Take away all the emotion from it, identify the problem, and accept that it is reality.
2. Firmly grasp the reality that change is a part of life.
You struggle against change. You expend a lot of energy making sure that change doesn’t happen in your life. Save your energy for better things and accept that change truly is a normal part of life. Expect it.
Resilience: The Beginning
Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith sifted through the mounds of data from their longitudinal study and noticed something peculiar. Of the children born on Kauai in 1955, there were a group of them that were at high risk for doing poorly as they grew older.
It wasn’t this group that caught the attention of the researchers, though. It was a subset of this group. The subset, about thirty-percent of the high-risk kids, was doing well. Really well.
They checked the data again. Yes, all of the high-risk children were facing the same types of adversity: parental issues including low education, behavioral health issues, and discord; health problems; poverty. And yet some of the children did very well while others did not.