The Holidays are meant to be a time to relax with the people you love the most in the world. For many of us, however, this can be an incredibly triggering time. If you spend too much time around what triggers you and not enough on self-care, you can burn out and become bitter and resentful. Taking care of yourself involves learning how to cultivate and maintain your own happiness. Here are 6 ways to bring yourself peace and joy this year:
Give yourself the love you wish to receive.
It is all too easy to become trapped seeking the constant validation of others. Human brains need validation and can go a little off the rails without it. You don’t have to wait for a compliment to spring forth from the ether, you can learn to authentically appreciate yourself. If you’re anxious that you are unliked, remind yourself how likeable you are. If you are spiralling because you feel unattractive, tell yourself that you’re a smooth operator who’s easy on the eyes. You can imagine it coming from whoever’s voice is most comfortable to you, but no matter what, that love is coming from you. Fearlessly seek the parts of yourself that are worth admiring, and give them the attention they deserve.
Forgiveness for its own sake.
Forgiveness doesn’t always mean saying “I forgive you” and reconciling with the person who hurt you. Sometimes we forgive others because we don’t deserve to linger on with resentments in our hearts. It is possible, and sometimes necessary to forgive actions for which you have not received neither apologies, acknowledgement, nor remorse.
Connect with tradition.
We are creatures of habit, and we find intense comfort when our bodies can fall into a natural rhythm of instinctual cycles. Traditions are repetitive rituals that connect us to our ancestors, our past, and our animal instincts. This can look like spending quality time with our family, or practicing holiday traditions like opening presents and Chinese food on Christmas.
When we give back to others, we always get something in return, and that is the pure joy of giving. Helping others boosts feelings of happiness and connection. You have so much to offer, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be material or monetary. You can share your time, your joy, and your peace with others. Spend time with someone who is lonely. Have a conversation with someone in need of connection. Take an errand off someone’s plate, or cook them a meal. You will feel good knowing that you have made someone’s life better and easier, even if it’s by doing something that seems small.
You don’t have to think you’re a good singer in order to get the benefits of singing. Singing can be so joyful, especially around the holidays when it seems as if Christmas music is blasting from every speaker imaginable. Don’t worry about the way you sound, and instead think about how freeing it feels to just sing. Singing reduces stress, muscle tension, and it can help fight depression. Whenever you sing or hum, you release hormones and chemicals like endorphins, oxytocin, melatonin, and nitric oxide.
Sharing an outdoor experience with loved ones.
Going for a hike with the people you love to spend time with the most is a wonderful way to create more peace and joy in your life. You can take a hike, go skiing, or just enjoy the beauty of the winter season. Breathing in the fresh air while being active outdoors is a beautiful way to connect with the people you love the most. It’s also wonderful because you each get to receive the priceless gift of a shared experience with your family. These memories will last a lifetime.
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