Not feeling the holiday spirit? Thanksgiving’s coming? You’ve seen it before. Christmas is around the corner? You could take it or leave it. If you’re feeling apathetic about the holidays this year, here are a few tips and suggestions you can use to shake things up and stoke that holiday spirit.
1. Take Steps to Avoid the Holiday Stress
Stress can be a powerful factor in how you react to something, and the desire to avoid the business and anxiety of the holidays can be crippling at times. If you’re suffering from some unaddressed holiday-related stress, you may be letting it curb your enthusiasm without knowing it. Consider trying to:
- Schedule your holidays in detail so that you don’t overbook yourself.
- Reduce the number of traditions you participate in (more on that further down).
- Come up with a calming playlist to listen to when things feel like too much.
- Remember that many of the best memories happen when things don’t go as planned.
If you look for ways to destress before the holidays hit, you’ll be better prepared to cope with the stress, find ways to overcome that anxiety, and ultimately enjoy yourself.
2. Find a Fun Family Craft
If you associate the holiday season with business, one way to help restore some holiday spirit is to purposefully limit your activities.
If you’re a parent, for example, your kids may exhibit some FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and ask to participate in every seasonal craft and activity possible. In order to maintain your sanity, enjoy yourself, and still build some holiday-themed memories, try to proactively select a reasonable number of easy crafts to do with your kids instead.
3. Indulge in Some Self Care
The holidays can feel like they’re all about everyone else. You visit the parents’ houses in order to keep everyone happy. You make countless trips to the mall and spend hours on Amazon purchasing dozens of gifts — none of which have anything to do with you. You spend days decorating for Halloween, only to swap them out for Thanksgiving decor, which is only going to be replaced by Christmas items a few weeks later.
If you’re feeling exhausted from the sheer scope of responsibilities during the holidays, it can be a good idea to take a little time for yourself. A few hours a week spent tucked away in your room with a cup of coffee and a good book can do wonders. Even something as simple as a trip to the physical therapist to keep that back pain in check can be all you need to stay focused and in the moment throughout the holidays.
4. Change Your Traditions
If you feel trapped by your traditions, you’re not alone. Fortunately, things don’t have to stay that way. Take some time to go over your holiday traditions. Write them down as a list on a piece of paper, your smartphone, or your computer.
Once you have all of your holiday traditions laid out in front of you, you’re going to want to ask yourself a few questions.
- What does each holiday mean to you?
- What do you want to get out of the holidays?
- What activities add value to the holiday itself?
- What activities do you actually enjoy doing?
- What activities does your family enjoy doing?
- What traditions feel like obligations that don’t serve a purpose anymore?
- What, if anything, makes you feel anxious about your holiday traditions?
- What traditions are good, but need to change a bit?
As you answer each question, parse through your list of traditions and sort things accordingly. If one tradition is highly cherished and adds genuine value, keep it. If another is simply a boring or — even worse — an exhausting responsibility, chuck it!
Using a variety of questions like those above can help you come up with a fairly definitive decision for each tradition, whether it’s as big of a deal as getting a real Christmas tree or as small of a concern as whether or not to create a centerpiece for Thanksgiving.
5. Get Proper Sleep
If you don’t stay rested, it’ll be hard to break out of that holiday funk. Chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect your central, respiratory, digestive, immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems. Of course, adding in the chaos of the holidays doesn’t help, either.
The important thing to realize is that it’s not just the quantity of sleep your getting, it’s the quality as well. If you’re trying to spruce up those holiday spirits, consider getting yourself on to a good sleep routine over the next few months.
Golf Channel Medical Expert Dr. Ara Suppiah has a simple yet ideal sleep routine that she prescribes for her athletes. It includes no eating after 8 o’clock at night and insists that all electronics are turned off by 9 o’clock.
Right before you get into bed:
- Take a 2-minute shower.
- Make sure the room is completely dark and the temperature is set to around 68 degrees.
- Turn the WiFi off.
- Give yourself 10 minutes of red light exposure if you can.
While this is just one of many different quality sleeping routines, the important thing is that you make sure you’re getting good rest over the holiday season. You’ll find that you’re able to feel more positive and present at each event and activity.
6. Prepare for the End
Sometimes the entire reason someone avoids participating in that holiday spirit is that they know what it’s like to come down from the emotional highs when real-life resumes after January 1st.
If you can relate, take the time to consider your perspective towards your everyday life. The holidays are fun and they provide a good excuse for some family time. However, that doesn’t make them superior to your normal life. It just makes them different.
As you prepare to come out of the holiday season, make it a transition — a shift from one ending to a new beginning. It doesn’t have to be a return to the status quo or a deflating drop from an emotional high. Make it a launching point forward into the new year’s adventures that wait ahead.
Keeping this positive perspective can be a wonderful way to make sure you can both fully enjoy your holiday season and thoroughly look forward to what comes next.
Tapping Into That Holiday Spirit
Whether you’re weeding out dated traditions, selectively choosing family activities, planning in some self-care, or simply shifting your overall perspective, there are many different ways to enable yourself to indulge in a little holiday spirit this year.
The important thing is that you make an effort. If you genuinely commit to a search for a little holiday cheer this season, you’re likely to find it without much trouble.