9 Ways to Lift Your Spirits During the Holidays

The stereotype of the holidays is that they are supposed to be filled with happiness, enjoying quality time spent with friends and loved ones, indulging in delicious food and giving and receiving lots of great gifts. In reality, it can be a stressful or unhappy time for many – and this year even more so as we all navigate the season during a pandemic. If you happen to be experiencing some of the holiday blues or are feeling a bit stressed about this time of year, here are some ways you still can lift your spirits during the holidays.

  1. Give the gift of your time – Giving to others can be an effective way to feel happy and giving of your time and/or skills can be the most rewarding. You might, for example, drop off food at a local food bank, send care packages to soldiers in the military or donate blood. If you love animals, volunteer at the animal shelter or donate food.
  2. Participate in a toy drive – Participate in one of the toys for children programs available in your area. This is a great way to help a child who is underprivileged or whose family is struggling financially receive a holiday gift or gifts.
  3. Treat a good friend to a meal – Make plans to dine with a friend via a Zoom call and then, prior to the call, surprise them by having their meal delivered. You can still enjoy their company—especially if you haven’t seen them in a while. You’ll not only feel good about treating them to dinner, but you’ll get the added joy of having fun and spending quality video-conference time with a friend.
  4. Get plenty of rest – Too many of us let our day-to-day lives get in the way of our sleep. It can be even more of a challenge during the holidays. Making sure you get an adequate amount of quality sleep can make a huge difference in improving or maintaining your mood.
  5. Donate holiday treats to the elderly – Check with a local nursing home to see if it would be okay to give each resident a token holiday-themed gift or baked treat. They’ll be happily surprised at the gesture and you’ll feel good about helping make someone’s day a little brighter.
  6. Get physical – Follow an exercise video, go for a walk or run, ride a stationary bike or clean the house from top to bottom. Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins that will brighten your mood and reinvigorate you.
  7. Take a yoga class and/or meditate – Practicing yoga can be a great low-impact way to increase your flexibility, increase muscle strength and tone and improve your breathing, but it can also have significant benefits in reducing stress and improving your mental well-being. Free online videos offer a variety from beginner to advanced. Taking time to meditate can also help reduce stress by making you clear your head, concentrate on your breathing and focus on being present.
  8. Make a list of people and things you are thankful for – Write down the names of people you are grateful to have in your life and all things you are thankful for. By focusing on your blessings, you can put yourself in a position to appreciate and enjoy what you have, helping you feel more fulfilled.
  9. Learn something new – Pick a subject that you know very little about or a skill you would like to have and start researching on YouTube. You could learn a new software program, learn to play an instrument, practice basic carpentry, fix minor issues on your car, take dance lessons, learn to knit…the list is endless. Learning keeps your mind sharp, boosts your mood and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

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