I suspect we’ll discuss this each year as we move closer to The Holidays as the reality is the calendar seems to get around to them each year, so far without fail! As we’ve also discussed in the past the holiday period can be a tough one for any number of reasons including perhaps the recent death of a loved one, financial stress or the feeling that the year is coming to an end and goals have not been achieved. It is most certainly not necessary to become an overly enthusiastic and chipper person just for the 5 or 6 week period of time until the glitter of New Years Eve passes but uncovering a wee bit of cheer wouldn’t hurt either. Looking for some suggestions on the how to do it part? Keep reading!

Find something in your year, season or week to celebrate. Last month we talked about gratitude and here’s where such a practice can help. Perhaps you can appreciate and take joy in the company of those around you or of another year of working toward a difficult goal one small step at a time. Dwelling on the positives allows them to grow in our minds so that those things that are less positive take on less significance. It’s the saying from the world of coaching, “that which we appreciate appreciates.”

If you have family around spend some time with them minus a screen. This means no TV or time spent on your computer or tablet. Spending time with those you care about can be as simple as going food shopping with them, looking through seed catalogues while enjoying a cup of hot tea or taking a walk. Its about the time, not the distraction of being entertained by a screen. Board games are another great way to spend time.

Thrivers no doubt are sticking to their exercise routines and now is not the time to stop but it could be the time to take a different class or try out a new hiking trail if the weather allows. Where’s the holiday spirit in that? Its in knowing that you’ve taken care of yourself and celebrating that!

Give yourself a bit of a break. If you’re feeling a bit drained and want to take some ‘time off’ from festivities then by all means curl up with a good new book and allow yourself to get lost in it for an afternoon or spend some time on your own wandering in a favorite museum without the pressure of the next place you have to be.

Join in an community activity such as wrapping gifts for the Marine Corps Toy Drive or visiting nursing homes and singing to the residents; seriously, no one will be upset if you can’t wrap well or sing off key!

An oldie but a goodie; adjust those expectations. I just heard a great quote on the topic; “Happiness is reality minus expectations.” Who said it? Tom Magliozzi, aka one of the “Car Guys” from NPR.

One more suggestion for uncovering that holiday spirit; try to recall a time when the holidays or something about the holidays was fun for you. For a short period of time allow yourself the gift of putting aside concerns for your practice, your bank account or if you’re accomplishing your goals. Stay focused on what you have right at hand and enjoy that.

Best wishes for your holidays!