inspiration + advice from marcel the shell
festive focus: 4 ways to stay present during the holidays

how to maximize your holiday happiness

The holiday season is upon us and that means it's time for lots of fun things like holiday parties and family gatherings and extra tasks piled on our to-do lists. Wait, that doesn't sound like fun to you? Me neither. As much as I love the holidays, I don't love the stress that often comes along with the most festive time of the year. However, I recently stumbled across this post -- A Month of Celebration -- on The Calm Space and it inspired me to think about what I want this holiday season to be like. It reminded me that I do, in fact, have a choice about how I handle the holidays. So I've decided that this year I'll resolve to do a few things that will keep the holidays more festive and less frustating.


This Year, I Will...

... make the best of whatever situation I'm in.
I know this can be particularly hard if you're not at all interested in doing some of the required holiday activities, but, believe me, making the best of a situation is only going to help you. When it comes to the holidays, there are things you have to do sometimes -- and making the best of them is only going to make them easier to get through.

... see the good in the people around me. Oddly enough, spending time with the people you love the most can be pretty difficult. It's tempting to see their faults, to recall the things they may have done that have hurt you in the past. But this holiday, don't do those things. Instead, shun all negative thoughts and focus on the good things these people bring to your life. Be positive.

... remind myself everything (and everyone) doesn't have to be perfect. We build the holiday season up all year long and suddenly it arrives and doesn't always live up to our ultra-high expectations. This year, lower your expectations to a reasonable level and remind yourself that this is just one holiday season. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect. And, yeah, other people don't have to be perfect either.

... stay in the moment to avoid unnecessary stress. When you start thinking about the past or the future, that's when you can really get caught up in stress. The holidays should be, at the very least, a day you can focus on the now and stop worrying about the past year or the year to come. Hard as it might be, make a commitment to spend your holidays in the present moment. Focus on the now.

... help others out -- and ask for help when I need it. Help can be a tricky thing. We all need it at times, but too often we don't remember to offer it or ask for it. Even though it might be hard to keep in mind, try your best to ask others if they need help and ask yourself if you might need help from others. It can be tough to ask for it sometimes, but it will make your holiday a lot happier if you do!

... take it one day, hour, minute at a time. Remember this holiday is only one part of the year and, even when it's tough, you can certainly get through it. If you're faced with troublesome situations, remind yourself that you can get through the next minute, the next hour, the next day. Stress levels may be high, but try to keep everything in perspective and stay calm.

... remember that I'm more than this one day of the year. People who put a lot of emphasis on the holidays often have a hard time remembering their worth is much more than a single day or event. The day doesn't have to perfect and neither do you. You are so many things and it's essential to remind yourself that the outcome of one day does not represent your entire worth as a person. Remember: it's just one day.

... put myself in positive situations (and avoid negative ones). Though you may not be able to choose exactly how you spend the holidays, you often have a choice when it comes to some situations you put yourself in. If you know a certain person drives you nuts, do what you can to stay away from him or her. And, whenever you can, find the people that inspire you and make you feel great and spend time with those individuals.

... not be afraid to say no. With the holidays often comes pressure to say yes. Though I'd certainly advise doing what you can to make the most of any situation you find yourself in, know that it's okay to say "no" when you need to. If something makes you unhappy or uncomfortable, don't do it. Some might call you a Scrooge, but if you want to be happy this holiday, you have to remain true to yourself.

... celebrate the little things (because, really, those are the big things). I'm a big fan of looking at the big picture, but one of the best pieces of advice I can offer you this holiday season is this: celebrate the little things. These are the things that might not seem like a big deal, but they are the things you will end up remembering when the day is over. Pay attention and all of those little things will add up to one big celebration.

Every day -- even the holidays -- we have a choice to experience the world from a positive or a negative point of view. As much as fun and festiveness is part of the holiday season, choosing a positive outlook can be tricky when all of the extra holiday stress is piled on. Give some thought to the suggestions above and see if those will help you make you maximize your happiness this holiday season. And if those don't work for you, think about some of the ways that you can choose a positive attitude this holiday. Just taking some time to think about what could make your holidays happier can have a big impact on your outlook.



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Love this post! I feel calmer just reading it! I appreciate the reminder! All the best to you and your family this holiday season!

Bonnie - Awesome! I'm so glad this article made you feel calmer. Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

We write about the same topic but we come at it from our own unique perspectives. I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more of them.

Jeffrey - Thanks for reading! It's great to know that you're interested in the same topics. Looking forward to checking out your site.

What a great post - these are such helpful suggestions! I think they will help many people keep things in perspective this season. Thanks!

Allison - Thank you! I'm so glad you found it be helpful. Enjoy the holidays!

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