Based on Positive Psychology Interventions, these are the 5 attitudes to practice to defeat the holiday blues.
Licensed positive psychologist Celine Sugay says that there are a lot activities we can do to achieve the five attitudes and fully banish the quarantine grinch away. From committing to a Christmas “thank you countdown” by choosing a person to appreciate each day before Christmas Eve or even modifying the traditional holiday activities and let them go virtual so that more family members and friends can join in.
The 5 attitudes to practice are gratitude, curiosity, creativity, and practice what you preach.
Dr. Sugay states that this will help people shift their mindset from wrong and right and push them to broaden their perspectives on how Christmas can come to town this year. “Don’t allow the situation to dictate what you cannot do. Think of your usual ways of celebrating and do what you can! Decorate your house, put up your Christmas tree, buy a bottle of wine, cook your ham and eat your queso de bola. Try and do what you usually do during the holidays, as much as you can do,” she expresses.
Mental health should always be a priority and not only during the holiday season. It’s time to turn off our fight mode and take care of our wellbeing.
She comforts us by saying that the season is all about us and not some grand ol’ party with popping champagne and glitter scattered all over the floor. “The holiday season, after all, is a season of love, blessings and gratefulness.” The holiday break can mean different things for all of us, but self-care is definitely one of them. “Self-care is paying attention to what you need, holistically, physically, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually and spiritually. Pay attention to what you need and give it to yourself. Do you need a good cry or a good night’s sleep? Do you need to connect with friends?,” Dr. Sugay says.
“Create the space and time for the things you need.”
Because we spent more than half of the year was also spent isolated within our homes, the usual spaces of mirth and warmth, such as the living room and kitchen, can feel empty and cold with only the clicking of keyboard keys and pings of message notifications. This can make us feel uninspired that the holidays will be spent in the same place. They can also be centers of stress and frustration, due to lack of separation from work and personal lives and routines meshed all together.
Dr. Sugay shares that first you must set boundaries by talking to your family member and set specific times or spaces to have each other’s alone time.
Be confident and “go home” after work by talking to your boss and colleagues to create a clearer boundary of when work time is over and you can completely disconnect. Secondly, create a routine. By keeping a schedule, you won’t end up feeling like you were “busy” but unproductive. Lastly, delegate and prioritize household chores so each person has a role to play in to make the house be a home once again.
Focus on what’s here and now and praise the wins we’ve had, no matter how small.
This holiday season will surely be different and a little bit unconventional but that’s the best we can do and there’s nothing wrong about that. “Have a merry little Christmas,” we always sing around this time of the year and we will have one indeed. From cherishing the family pictures and ornaments that hang on the Christmas Tree or by playing some of our favorite Christmas carols, we start to paint the world merry and bright once more. We continue to celebrate together and most importantly we start to hope again even when we’re miles away from each other.