Making holidays the best they can be

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The holidays should be a time filled with joy and love, yet for some it can be a season of great sadness and regret. Experts offer these simple coping strategies and new interpersonal approaches to consider in the days ahead.

Leave the ghosts of holidays passed in the past. Certainly, many of us have unhappy memories from childhood or adult disappointments and losses during the holidays. As the years go by, acknowledge the past--grieve for awhile--and then go on each and every year to create new memories now. Take back the power from your ghosts.

Reduce your expectations. Maybe the food won't be perfect, maybe you'll have a zit on your nose to clash with your new outfit, or maybe there will be a disagreement or two. Lower the bar. Expect reality--with all its wonders and warts.

Participate in the wonder of the holidays. For many, the holidays themselves are special from a religious standpoint, and this is enough. For others, we ourselves need to bring the special wonder to the holidays--the holidays won't necessarily bring this to us.

Don't be a victim. It only makes things worse! If you are alone, volunteer to give out toys to the needy, visit a shelter, or serve food at a soup kitchen. Connect with others. Create a sense of connection and meaning instead of wallowing in despair.

Re-think your role. The holidays may be a depressing time, and now we have the economic crises to add to it. Leave the past behind, lower expectations, don't expect a fairy tale, and reach out to others. Create your own wonder and don't let this holiday season be another painful disappointment and hassle. It will have a powerful effect on the now.

Let the holidays be your opportunity to embrace positivity and share good will with your fellowman!