Reignite your holiday spirit
Some people love winter and the holiday season and others, not so much.
If you fall into the latter category, take some tips from people in the cold climes of the Nordic countries and try to change your mindset so you can appreciate the season more — or at least not dread it.
If you’re not fond of the cold weather, try not to let that limit you. Make sure you’re warmly dressed — layers are the best and wool is unbeatable for warmth and dryness — and get outdoors. The fresh air and daylight can do wonders for your mood and energy, and after an outing, you’ll welcome the coziness of being indoors.
And coziness is not just about the hot chocolate: There are soups and stews, piping hot tea and cider. Add some special lighting to your home to counter the early darkness. While the loss of sunlight can trigger seasonal affective disorder, getting enough daylight or using a lightbox or sunrise alarm clock early in the day can counter that.
Give yourself permission
The holidays can be celebrated however you choose. For some, that may mean a whirl of parties and special events, while for others, the focus will be on quieter, more intimate gatherings, time for making art or music and cooking, reading and taking long walks.
Give yourself permission to slow down, relax and find your own unique ways of celebrating the season. Take the opportunity for a break from the daily demands of work and school and find the time to connect with those you love. Enjoy the festive lights, your favorite movies and all the experiences that bring you holiday joy.
Remember that for those who are grieving, or live far from or are estranged from family, the holidays can be a difficult time. Try reaching out to others. Connection, compassion and spending time with others can make an enormous difference in their lives — and yours.
Acts of kindness can give us a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment and put us in touch with the purpose of the season. Whether helping a neighbor or working with a community group, the inner rewards can give you a warm glow.
Make lasting memories
Yes, gifts are fun to give and receive, but the enjoyment of spending time together is what will stay with you throughout the year. Think of this as an opportunity to renew relationships and create lasting memories. Maybe your loved ones live a distance away, or you have been too busy to get together with friends as often as you’d like. Prioritize spending time with those you love and embrace all the delights of the season.
And don’t forget to show kindness to yourself as well as to others, with healthy boundaries, a budget for how much you want to spend and the freedom to create your own favorite holiday traditions, which you can enjoy for this season and all that come after.
"Don’t worry about winter. Walk out into the woods — see the light, bright in the branches, the sound of heaven descending in birdsong. There is always a way through the wood and ever-present wonders emerging from the glistening ground." — Nancy Horseman