I have to admit, even though Christmas is a couple of days away, I haven’t felt very joyous lately. It’s not like I’m that I’m not happy or excited to make cookies and watch my children open their gifts, but I think my mood is just coming from a combination of things: extra holiday stress; a brain that doesn’t slow down; and a self-derived pity party for myself because we won’t be celebrating the holidays with any extended family this year. Add in all of the Pacific Northwest rain and gloomy weather and it just puts a little extra damper on things.
Even though I’ve been personally feeling the holiday blues a little bit lately, there have been a few things that have really lifted my spirits - and they might surprise you.
1. Thoughtful surprises: On more than one occasion over the past month, I have received lovely little gift packages from companies that I’ve worked with over the past year, and some that I haven’t even worked with yet. Little holiday platters, free products, movie tickets, and special holiday decorations have ended up on my front porch, and whenever I received them it really made my day and put a smile on my face. Hobby Lobby kindly sent me an entire holiday tree kit, and the girls and I decorated the tree in beautiful white, silver, blue, and purple ornaments. They even sent a handwritten card that really made an extra difference. You see, it didn’t matter what was sent to me, what mattered was knowing that someone took a couple minutes out of their day to send something special to someone else.
2. Random smiling: Whenever I start feeling blue or sorry for myself, I force my face to smile. The thought of actually making my muscles smile distracts my brain momentarily and immediately lifts my spirits. I also try to make sure I smile to at least one stranger when I’m out and about. It’s crazy how many people don’t just smile at each other anymore! Next time you are out: try it.
3. Giving (and receiving) compliments: Instead of pointing out something that one of my kids need to fix, like when they are baking cookies or cleaning something, I’m trying to remember to focus on the positive things - like telling them how proud I am that they remembered to put the milk back in the fridge without being asked, or that they picked out a pretty outfit to wear that day. On the flip side, when one of them or my husband says something nice to me, I’m trying harder to actually accept it and acknowledge it instead of shrugging it off. It helps my mood and teaches my kids how to receive compliments.
4. Focusing on the positive: Yes, I’m totally bummed that we don’t have large family gatherings and that no one else in my extended family plans any get togethers, but I am trying to remember to accept the things I can’t change, and focus on the more important things - like three kids here with me who I can bring up the way I think that things should be, and teach them the importance of special holidays and get togethers so that hopefully when they are grown they can have that family experience with theirs. Even though it’s just the 5 of us, we will have a big Christmas dinner and special snacks. We will play games and drive around to see Christmas lights together. Focusing on the positive things in life, like having good health, people that do love me, a home of our own, and other things helps get past the blues and disappointment.
What are some things that you do when you are feeling blue? What makes you smile? :) I hope everyone has a joyous Christmas this week!