The holiday season is often portrayed as a joyous time to get together with friends and family. Sadly though, not everyone gets the privilege of a happy, carefree holiday by default.
There are a number of reasons the holidays might be something you dread instead of looking forward to. Perhaps you’re not close with your family, or maybe you won’t be able to see them this year. Perhaps the holidays fall around the anniversary of a painful loss. Or maybe you’re simply going through a difficult time in general.
Whatever the case for your holidays being tough, there’s still hope. Finding joy whenever possible is, in my eyes, an absolutely essential part of living your best life. So how do you go about embracing joy when it feels so hard to come by?
Here are my ideas.
1. Consciously choose to change this year
If last year’s holiday season was a rough one, you might have had a moment to yourself at the end of it where you swore to make the changes you needed to never go through it again. So when the time of year comes around again, take a moment with yourself to check in on what tangible changes you’re actually making.
Are you changing the way you do things this holiday season? Are you committed to making things different this year?
Making a promise to yourself is a vital first step in actually being able to embrace joy this holiday season.
2. Identify the things that bring you down
What is it about previous holidays that made them so difficult? Was it the people you spent it with? The location you were in and the memories it holds? Do you simply tend to have a difficult time around this time of year?
Before you can begin to make changes, you need to identify the problems that have robbed you of joy in previous years.
It’s only by looking back and analyzing what brings you down that you can hope to make a change for the future.
3. Set boundaries and stick to them
One of the hardest things to do is learning to say ‘no.’ However, it’s a vital skill if you want to make a change this holiday season. Once you’ve identified the things that have to change this year and committed to making things different, you have to be firm in setting your boundaries.
If you want to be able to embrace joy in even the toughest times, you’ll have to learn to prioritize and respect yourself, even when that means saying no and having difficult conversations.
4. Celebrate your way
Remember: what works for one person may not work for another, and that’s ok! If the typical holiday arrangement isn’t bringing you joy, don’t be afraid to mix things up this year. Maybe this means a quiet celebration at home with just a handful of people you love, or maybe it means a night out by yourself to forget about the holidays altogether.
Whatever the case, celebrate your way, and do it unapologetically.
5. Respect the season’s challenges as opportunities
One of the most valuable lessons I teach my clients is to reframe their perspective on obstacles. They can be challenging, emotionally taxing, and enough to make you feel like giving up.
That’s exactly when it’s time to rethink them.
Challenges are opportunities—chances to grow and learn, and signs that there’s a change that has to happen in order for you to embrace joy.
Make joy a priority
If this post is ringing true for you, and you’re still not sure how to incorporate these ideas in such a way that you’re actually improving your situation this holiday season, I can help.
With decades of experience in coaching people through all manner of obstacles and challenges, I’ve learned how to best apply my philosophy of embracing joy to the life of anyone, regardless of the details of their life.
To learn more about how to embrace joy, or to get started with some help from a spiritual life coach, contact me today.