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Struggling To Enjoy The Holidays? Try This

The holidays are supposed to be special times of the year when work stops and you’re free to enjoy yourself. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. You know that you should be enjoying your time away from work, but actually having fun is harder than you might think. 

There are many potential issues that can crop up during the holiday season. For instance, you might over schedule, forcing yourself to do more work than you can reasonably take on. You might also have to spend time with family members whose company you don’t enjoy. 

In this post, we run through some of the things that you can try to enjoy the holidays more. They should be memorable and fun, not just something that you have to get through. Here’s what to do: 

Be Grateful For What You Have

Even if you feel like you don’t have much in your life, research shows that being grateful for what you have can help a great deal. People who are regularly thankful display higher levels of peace and happiness in their lives. They are also more content with themselves and the people around them and don’t always want “more, more, more.”

Being grateful is easy. Just pick something in your life that is good. It can be something small, like a pet you love or the fact that you have your health. Then focus on that, be thankful for it, and see where it takes you. You’ll find that by doing this simple practice, your outlook on life changes completely. You feel happier day to day, including during the holidays when you face extra pressures. 

Become Absorbed In The Culture

Taking culture too seriously can land you in trouble. But there is nothing wrong with indulging in it from time to time. Tradition helps to keep us firmly planted in the ground. 

How you celebrate during a holiday is very much up to you. For some, it means travelling to a resort, such as Disney World, and enjoying all the seasonal fun. For others, it is indulging in food, drink and entertainment. For you personally, it might be spending time with your family all in one room. 

It’s worth pointing out that holidays are transient. They last a few days, and then they are gone. They remind us of the impermanence of the world – the fact that everything is fleeting. So, because of this, we should take advantage of them as best we can. 

Do Yoga Before Bed

Yoga is a semi-magical experience. You wouldn’t think that moving your body in certain ways would have such a profound effect on your wellbeing, but it does. After a yoga session, you feel calm, relaxed and sweetly fatigued. 

Why mention this? Simple: yoga can be a great way to help you get the shut-eye you need during the holiday season. With so much going on, you often need as much rest as possible. Plus, the more sleep you have, the better you’ll feel. 

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can also pair yoga at night with morning meditation. This way, you can prepare your mind for the day ahead while slowing down your body in the evening. 

Breathe More

Breathing techniques are becoming increasingly popular these days. That’s because modern science is finally documenting the benefits of the activity. Researchers have found what yogis have known for millennia: deep breathing induces a deep sense of relaxation. 

But how does it work? When you breath deeply into your stomach, it activates part of the body’s nervous system associated with relaxation. You’ll notice that when you take six or more slow, deep breaths, you instantly feel calmer. Breathing deeply changes your body’s chemistry and helps you feel more alive to the world. You feel relaxed, back in control, and ready to face whatever the holiday season throws at you. 

Simplify Your Duties

Many people get stressed out of their minds during the holidays because of their hostess duties. They spend the entire time cooking, cleaning, decorating and serving drinks that they forget that the holidays are also about celebrating.

If you can, simplify your hostess duties. Instead of making everything yourself, buy things ready made. For instance, buy cakes from the local bakery or ready-stuffed turkeys that you just need to pop in the oven. 

You can even buy packaged vegetables, roast potatoes and sauces where everything is done for you. Ready-made finger food is also a great idea for buffets instead of making pastries, salads and sandwiches from scratch. 

Be Less Giving

The world is always telling you to be more giving and selfless. But, as we all know, if you’ve ever tried that approach to life, it’s exhausting. 

At Christmas it is an especially severe problem. If you know a lot of people, you feel like you need to buy all of them a big gift to show them that you care. 

This year, try to cut back a little. You don’t have to buy everyone on your list a present. Just a simple card will do. Often, that means just as much to people. 

If you still feel like you need to buy things, then get baked goods in bulk and hand them out to all your friends. This way, you treat everyone the same way. 

Specify Where You Want To Direct Your Time And Energy

Another thing you might want to try is specifying how you will spend your time and energy over the holiday season. This practice is ideal for people who often wind up running around like headless chickens. It forces you to focus your mind and body on the things that really matter to you. 

For instance, you might: 

  • Use the holidays to practice a skill, such as cooking
  • Spend your time getting to know a particular member of your family
  • Use the break as an opportunity to recharge your batteries and avoid burnout
  • Find time to indulge in a new hobby or passion. 

When you are specific about how you want to spend the time, it can make the experience more enjoyable. You feel more in control and purpose-driven. 

Identify Your Bad Holiday Habits

At the same time, you can also identify your bad holiday habits. We all have them. For example, they might include: 

  • Overspending on gifts
  • Rushing around in the buildup so much that you can’t enjoy the break once it finally arrives
  • Over-committing to various socials, parties, gatherings and engagements
  • Eating or drinking too much

Once you identify your bad habits, you put yourself in a much better position to enjoy the holidays. You can avoid your pitfalls and use the time off as an opportunity to be kind to yourself. 

Schedule Dead Time

You might also want to try scheduling so-called “dead time” – practice endorsed by none other than the ultra-busy Steve Jobs

Dead time is essentially a time in the day or week when you deliberately do nothing. Such an activity sounds quite alien in our culture where everyone is rushing around all the time, constantly busy. However, it is essential for remaining healthy and happy. 

Dead time isn’t time wasted. In fact, it can be quite spiritual. It is a reminder that life is enough. You don’t have to rush around doing things all the time. You can enjoy yourself and take it easy from time to time. 

How you decide to spend your dead time is very much up to you. Long baths are a good option. You can also just lie on the couch listening to music. It’s totally up to you. Dead time during the holidays is fundamentally what makes them feel the way that they do. 

 Limit Your Activities

You don’t have to do everything for everyone during the holidays. You’re not a slave. However, sometimes we can struggle with boundaries, believing that we need to serve everyone else’s needs, but not our own. 

A good way to deal with this propensity is to set limits on your activities. Don’t commit to cooking a family dinner from scratch every night. Instead, schedule take-outs or get other family members to help you. Try if you can to see the holidays as a team effort instead of something you have to shoulder entirely yourself. 

Wrapping Up

As we have seen, there are numerous ways that you can enjoy the holiday season. And it all starts with you. 

The advice shared here falls into two broad categories:

  1. Looking after yourself
  2. Outsourcing tasks to other people

If you can master both of these approaches to the holidays, you will discover what makes them so special. You’ll actually be able to enjoy yourself and get the most out of them instead of feeling rushed and stressed all the time. 

If you’re still struggling, find somebody in your family who is always at ease during the holidays. Ask them what they do to make the experience pleasurable. Often, they can provide mentorship that can enhance the entire experience for you. 

Lastly, always remember that the purpose of the holidays is to take a break from work, not work yourself stupid.

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