IMG_9721Do you ever fall into the holiday funk?  You know what we mean, that feeling of being overloaded with obligations and activities during the end of the year.  The holiday funk can also be brought on by feelings of loneliness or sadness due to a loved one who has passed, a relationship that is broken, or even bad holiday experiences of the past.  I think we all go through periods of the holiday funk from time to time.

While there are many reasons that we and up in a holiday funk, we need to remember that we can choose not to be prisoners of the holidays, but rather drivers of the experience that we want.  A good place to start is deciding what is truly important to you this holiday season and work towards that goal.  Ask yourself, “What will make me happy this holidays?”  For some, it may be spending time with family.  For others, it may be enjoying peace and quiet at home and catching up on much needed rest.  It may even be taking a trip and getting away from home.  Then, stick with your goal. Do whatever it takes for you to achieve it and resist the feeling of guilt if you forgo a tradition or turn down an invitation.

If you feel the holiday funk start to creep into your life, try any of the following to shake it off.

If you feel sad because of the loss of a loved one:

  • Do something in their honor. Commemorate your loved one’s life in a special way that feels good to you, such as lighting a candle at church for them, making a donation in their name, or placing their photo on your Christmas tree.
  • Think of how they would want you to enjoy the holidays.  When I’m feeling sad about not having my grandparents with us, I think about what they would want for me.  They wouldn’t want me to be moping around and sad because they’re not here. They would want me to enjoy myself and make the most of everyday, holidays and otherwise, and this usually helps to lift my mood.

If you have a broken relationship:

  • Start a new tradition. If you’ve shared the holidays and traditions with someone who is not in your life anymore, consider starting a new tradition that you can put into practice for years to come.
  • Enjoy your relationships that are wonderful. Make it a point to foster the relationships with the people who mean the most to you.  Tell them how much appreciate them. Celebrate the holidays with these folks.

If you just need a positive pick-me-up:

  • Watch a funny movie. Force yourself to sit down and enjoy the show without being preoccupied by chores, your electronic device, etc.
  • Have a date night.  Date night usually gets pushed to another month, after the holidays, due to all the parties and other events happening at this time. Live on the edge, get a babysitter, and make plans to spend some dedicated time with your special someone. Enjoy each other among the holiday decorations and cheer.
  • Go outdoors and enjoy nature.  When it gets cold, we tend to bundle up and stay inside.  Getting out, breathing the fresh air, and enjoying nature is one of the simplest ways to boost your happy feelings.
  • Be still. Take a private moment to be still with your thoughts.  Meditate, pray, or simply enjoy the silence.  Build on your calm, peace and intuition.
  • Exercise. Physical activity gets your blood, energy and endorphins pumping. Exercise also releases stress and anxiety.
  • Pamper yourself. Schedule a massage or get a hair cut.  Get or give yourself a manicure, pedicure or facial.  Do something for you!
  • Listen to music. Never underestimate the power of music.  Turn on Pandora, and pick your favorite station.  Music helps the most mundane chores seem easier and lightens the mood of any room.
  • Plan a surprise. Surprise a friend with a holiday treat or drop off a gift for someone in need.  Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru.  Do something wonderful that will be a welcome surprise for the recipient.
  • Volunteer.  Give your time to charity.  Deliver food to a soup kitchen or ring the bell to collect kettle donations.  Do something for others who are not as fortunate as you.
  • Listen to an inspirational speech. YouTube has many audio and video inspirational speeches.  Type in the search terms for what you want to achieve (e.g. speech on how to overcome challenges) and start listening.
  • Read, write and repeat affirmations. Affirmations are inspirational messages that speak to your soul and encourage you to keep moving forward.  Search online for affirmations that give you relief, reassurance and hope.  Some of our favorite affirmations are from Louise Hay or Iyanla Vanzant.
  • Play a game. Take out your favorite board game or download a free game app on your phone.  Games in groups are always sure to bring out the laughter in everyone.  Electronic games are a great way to get your mind off the everyday duties and relax for a few minutes.
  • Create a project. If you’re spending more time than usual alone for the holidays, this may be the perfect opportunity to start on a project that you’ve been meaning to complete.  A scrapbook, photo calendar, sewing project or home improvement project will get your creative juices flowing, and the finished result will be a wonderful reward.
  • Learn something new. Doing something different and new generates excitement and builds our self-esteem.  If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn but never got around to doing, such a painting, a foreign language, needlepoint, or karate, act on it.  YouTube and Pinterest have many how-to posts that you can access for free.  If you wish to take a class, research your options and schedule yourself to start as soon as possible.

If you’ve tried to shake off the funk but still feel down, you may want to talk about it with a medical professional, counselor or pastor.  Traumatic and other emotional events take a toll on us physically and mentally, especially during milestones or special occasion, which may be more than we can handle on our own.  There’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of in seeking help from a third party. We are all human and need assistance at one time or another.   Your well being is the most important factor for you and those around you to thrive.

For more holiday tips, check out The PR Fix for the Holidays.

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