The winter holidays can be horrible. Especially if you’re an adult. Sure, there are a lot of reasons why you should have a great time. After all, December is supposed to be the happiest month of the year. There are a lot of holidays and parties to enjoy during this winter month. But unlike childhood, there are a lot of things you need for a happy holiday season to happen. Adulthood comes with a lot of responsibilities and frustrations. This can be quite contrasting to the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. Therefore, in order to actually enjoy the month of December, you need to actually put in some effort.
Luckily for all of us, there are quite a few things we can do in order to improve our mood and help us get into the spirit of Christmas. Sometimes, all it takes is a little meditation or a few décor changes. Other times, it takes a lot more to start feeling jolly. Nevertheless, there are plenty of things out there that we can do to make ourselves happier. So, if you want to add more joy to your life this holiday season, check out our 9 things you need for a happy holiday season!
9 Things You Need For A Happy Holiday Season:
1) Be Gentle With Yourself
Since it’s said to be the most wonderful time of the year, how come so many people are reporting it’s the worst time of the year? The answer to that question is a complicated one. Unlike children, adults have baggage. There are a lot of things that will go wrong by the time you’re into your 30s. Adulthood is a time of great responsibility and numerous frustrations. By the time people reach this part of their lives, many will realize that the dreams they had in childhood or highschool will never come true. This can be devastating.
Christmas and the pressure of partying hard on New Year’s are two events that add a great deal of pressure on a lot of people. Couple that with the pain of living a life that you dreamt would look different and you will find your answer. Therefore, one thing you can do in order to enjoy the winter holidays is to hit pause on the comparison button. Stop comparing your actual life with your idealized version of it, and stop comparing yourself to others who have it better.
December is not just the month when we’re supposed to be better to one another, but also a time to be better to ourselves. Your relationship with yourself is important. So be gentle with yourself.
2) Embrace The ‘Season To Be Jolly’
Like many things in life, winter is something we have to embrace. You don’t have to do it out of love, but you should do it nonetheless. The changing of the seasons isn’t something we can control. However, we can control the way we react to that change. Therefore, the best thing you can do is embrace it.
Winter is hard. Freezing temperatures, gray skies, and a general depressive mood. These are the “symptoms” many people describe during this time of the year. While December can be especially gloomy, your outlook on it doesn’t have to be.
There are quite a few simple things you can do to stay positive and enjoy yourself. For example, you can try the exact same things you’ve tried before to lift your spirits. If it works, why change it? Whether it’s a shopping spree, a Netflix marathon or enjoying your hobby, it doesn’t matter. Do the things that make you happy!
3) Movement Is Key!
Serotonin is your friend. And so is a good body image. So why not have them both? Hitting the gym during the winter is a great way to get a perfect summer body. Hitting the gym during winter is also a great way to eat delicious foods without feeling guilty.
Of course, mustering up the motivation for sports can be tough during winter. Especially if you live in an area where winter comes with freezing temperatures and snow. However, physical exercise is very good. It basically boosts your mood. And since you’re reading this article, it appears that you could use a mood boost.
Finding motivation can be really challenging. So why not give yourself some incentive? Write down or look up an exercise schedule and start exercising. In order to keep it interesting, reward yourself with a small treat, like a mani-pedi. A mani-pedi is a great way of making yourself feel better about yourself!
4) Be Mindful Of What You Eat
December is a great month to eat fatty and sugary foods. However, highly refined carbs and sugar won’t really help with your winter blues. Instead, it will only make them worse. Sure, it feels good to eat those foods, but right after you finish, your blood sugar levels spike and then they come crashing down. This can leave you feeling cranky and overall irritated.
Instead, opt for better comfort foods. Consider eating comfort foods that can double as healthy pick-me-ups. Your best bet is foods high in mood-boosting like omega-3 fatty acids and high-quality carbs. Whole grains and vegetables are packed with these, but they aren’t very delicious.
However, with a little creativity, you can turn even the bleakest of oatmeals into delicious feasts. Add a little jam, fresh fruits or peanut butter on top and you will love your oatmeal.
Of course, there are other foods you can eat besides oatmeal. The idea is to eat foods rich in fiber and whole grain. This will increase your serotonin – a brain hormone that makes you feel good.
5) Resist The Urge To Stay Indoors
If you happen to live in a place where winter means snow and freezing temperatures, you may prefer to stay indoors mostly. Cold weather or bad weather (cold, rainy days) can be quite miserable. It would be perfectly understandable to want to stay inside. Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate wrapped with your favorite blanket while watching your favorite shows on TV sounds lovely. However, isolation can be quite detrimental.
We must fight the urge to isolate ourselves. We were not made to hide away in our houses all winter. Quite the opposite. We are social creatures therefore socializing is something we should do. Meaningful interactions or even simple, generic interactions with others are important. Socializing is a very powerful way of lifting your spirits.
Instead of holing up indoors, consider setting aside some time a few times a week for friends and family. It can be a quick lunch, a movie, a night out clubbing. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you see each other and hang out.
If you are not the kind who goes out much, invite your friends over. There are a lot of things you can do with your buddies at home. You can throw parties, or watch movies together, play games or simply hang out and eat some snacks.
6) Rewrite The Narrative
Okay, this one may sound like something your therapist would say. And you would be right. It is an exercise from the cognitive-behavior school of therapy. And it can work wonders!
Adults generally dislike the things that make winter… winter. Instead of dreading the winter months, consider relishing winter’s pleasure. There are quite a lot of things you can like: ice-skating, warm woolen mittens, hot chocolate, sweaters etc. Sure, it’s easy to simply say: Take your time to savor the great things about this season! But what do you do when you don’t like these things? You rewrite the narrative.
Rewriting your thoughts or beliefs around it can make a huge difference. Basically, when you learn to enjoy rather than hate what’s around you, your inner optimist will overpower your inner pessimist. So, whenever you catch yourself dreading something, refocus on the positive aspects. Instead of hating how cold your toes and nose are while you are out in the cold, thing about how delicious the hot chocolate will be once you get home. If this doesn’t work, consider writing on a piece of paper what you hate about this season, and then, rewrite each of the sentences with weaker words (dislike instead of hate).
7) Get As Much Sunlight As Possible
Vitamin D deficiency is a real thing, with real effects. It can manifest itself even as depression. But besides that, not getting enough vitamin D can cause fatigue and tiredness, bone and back pain, hair loss and muscle pain.
Naturally, our bodies produce the vitamin D we require. This vitamin helps regulate a lot of things, making it very important for our health. We help our body produce this vitamin when we expose our skin to UVB radiation – in other words when the sun touches our skin.
In winter, however, especially if you live somewhere that gets bad weather, sunlight exposure is very limited. Not only because we wear a lot of clothes to keep ourselves warm, but also because we stay indoors most of the time. Furthermore, the sun’s rays aren’t strong enough in the upper half of the USA during winter.
For this reason, it is important to test yourself and see what your vitamin D levels are. If they are low, consider taking a supplement. Unless, of course, you plan on spending your winter holidays somewhere sunny.
Sunlight increases the levels of serotonin – which is also why so many people are considerably happier during spring and summer. Sunlight exposure also suppresses melatonin – a chemical that helps you fall asleep. Higher levels of melatonin are normal during winter due to shorter days and less sunlight.
If you don’t plan on an exotic getaway this season, then you should perhaps consider investing in a light box. Also, whenever you see the sun is out, grab your clothes and take a walk!
8) Don’t Underestimate Proper Clothing!
A good winter wardrobe is something to consider. Proper clothing isn’t something you should underestimate. Cold weather is something that can be shrugged off. Especially since we take the car when we need to go somewhere. Getting out of the house and into the car doesn’t really require good insulation.
However, clinical instructors of medicine disagree. It appears that staying warm is the surprising secret to feeling jolly during the cold season. Sure, dressing properly for winter can make you look like a snowman. However, cold temperatures can easily make you feel sluggish and apathetic. If you already have the blues, cold temperatures can worsen your symptoms.
Cold weather affects the body considerably because it forces it to consume more energy to stay warm. Therefore, if you want to spare your body and mind the effort, bundle up. Don’t get out of the house without gloves, a scarf and a hat. Who knew that sometimes, the things you need for a happy holiday season is proper insulation from the cold?
9) Prepare For Something Fun In The Future
Winter generally lasts for three months, from December to March. However, the huge bulk of the holidays takes place in December. This leaves us with two months of cold weather with nothing to look forward to. This can be very depressing.
Instead of waiting for nearly two months the return of spring, consider planning a getaway right after the winter holidays end. It can be a plan to skip town right away for a couple of days, or something larger. You can start planning your summer holiday. Researching exotic destinations and watching youtube videos to learn more of the locations can really make a difference in your mood. Simply thinking about something positive in the future can make you happier. So why not do just that?
Of course, the most efficient thing to boost your mood would be to go somewhere ASAP. However, if you don’t have the time or cash for a quick getaway, your best bet is to start planning for your summer holiday. By booking your flight now you can get huge ticket discounts, which is another reason to be happier!
All things considered, there are a lot of ways to keep the winter blues at bay as an adult. From wearing the right clothing to getting enough vitamin D staying happy as a grown-up requires a little effort on your behalf. As you can see, unlike children, there are a lot of things you need for a happy holiday season. Nevertheless, we hope this article will help you help yourself. Happy holidays!