I love December, sure it’s crazy busy and I’d love some more hours of daylight, but for me it is a time to be joyful and grateful, a time to enjoy good food with the people I love the most. I like reflecting on the previous year’s achievements and readying myself for what next year might bring.
I understand, however, that this is not the case for everyone. Some dread this time of year and December can feel like a difficult time. Perhaps Christmas is a heavy reminder of someone they’ve lost, or December may mark the end of another year where they didn’t feel fulfilled or entirely happy.
So here are some ways to stay positive over the festive season:
Stay present. I know I mentioned reflecting back and looking forward, but too much of this type of thinking can be a problem. We only ever have this present moment, the past has been and gone and the future isn’t guaranteed. So savour the present and try not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. We cannot change the past and we don’t know what will happen going forwards so don’t waste energy worrying about something you can’t possibly change.
Spend time with people that lift you up. I think at this time of year you can feel obliged to spend time with certain friends or family that you wouldn’t ordinarily chose to see. If this is because they usually bring you down or belittle you, you can say no. The temporary discomfort of saying no to something you really don’t want to do saves you feeling resentful or down later on.
Help someone else. Spending your time helping others who are less fortunate than you will make you feel good. True happiness and purpose is found in the service of others.
Be grateful. Our negativity bias will coax us towards what’s ‘wrong’ but you always have something to be grateful for. Life is a gift.
Realise you’re not alone. As isolating as this time of year can make you feel, you aren’t the only one. Acknowledging that your experience is shared by many others lessens the pressure you may be feeling.
I hope this helps! But if you are really struggling with negative emotions and are worried about your mental health, talk to someone, the charity Mind is an amazing resource and here’s the link to their website: https://www.mind.org.uk