I suppose now it is safe to say that we have officially entered the holiday season. In the U.S., there’s always been a little contention over when the holidays begin, as some skip from Halloween straight to Christmas and ignore Thanksgiving, while others do not concede that the holidays begin until the week of turkey day. And last year the holidays for most people didn’t feel like the holidays at all; although, the same could be said about this year. Usually, on Facebook and YouTube, there are tons of videos with Halloween decorations and creepy makeup looks as well as daily postings of gratitude. That really hasn’t happened this year, and if it did, it was on a much lower scale. Perhaps those are another thing that have been absorbed by the “new normal.” However, what hasn’t changed unfortunately is the sadness and despondency that the holidays can bring for some.
Holiday (and seasonal depression) is real. For some, it is due to the lack of sunlight when the clocks were rolled back an hour and the days are shorter. For others, it is the isolation and not being with (or having) friends and/or family. Still for others, it is the feeling of inadequacies due to lack of funds and feeling as if he/she cannot provide for their family and loved ones during this time of year. So, here are some tips to get through the holidays.
- Mental health should be everyone’s top priority. Take time to take care of yourself. Each day, do one thing no matter how small for yourself. This could be a walk in the park, a long bubble bath, giving yourself a facial, drawing, indulging in a movie, working in a garden, read a good book, or whatever. The activity of choice does not matter as long as it places a smile on your face.
- Do not dwell on events that bring you down. Missing loved ones that has left this life never truly goes away. It becomes something that we can live with an accept. However, this becomes a real challenge during the holidays, and it’s easy to become bogged down in the feelings of loss. Instead, engage in something that would have brought that person joy as a dedication to them. For example, if the person loved roses, place roses on their resting place. If that’s not possible, place them in your home or work office to remember the good times with them each time you look at them. One friend went skydiving during the holidays as she said it was something her father had always wanted to do. Since he was not able to fulfill that dream, she did it for him.
- For loved ones who haven’t passed away but for one reason or another cannot be present, bump up your contact with them in other ways. Facetime them more frequently. Go old school and send them a snail mail card with photos. Write more posts on their social media account. One friend did twenty-five days of vlogging (inspired by advent calendar boxes) and uploaded to his social media account so that his family would feel that they were a part of his daily life. In return, some of his family members did the same for him. It’s not the same as being in person, but it’s better than doing nothing and being lonely.
- Uplift others. One way to always improve your mood is to help to improve someone else’s there are plenty of ways to do this. It could be volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. It could be adopting an angle from the Angel Christmas Tree or purchasing a toy for Toys for Tots. Or it could be engaging in a random act of kindness. And smiling never hurts. There’s a local mom’s-n-pop’s breakfast bar where the workers are always chipper. It’s easy to see from their interactions with each other and customers that it isn’t an act and that the employees truly enjoy working there. They always brighten my day when I stopped by. Then, one day at lunch I stopped at a popular fast-food restaurant that the workers aren’t exactly known for their friendliness. I honestly can’t tell you why I was smiling when I got to the window as the person who took my order was sounding a bit perturbed. However, when I handed her my card with a cheery smile, I saw her disposition transform. I don’t know what was going on with her that day, but I hope that I brought a little more joy into it as the workers at the breakfast bar do for me.
- Get over the financials. Not everything is about money. There does not need to be tons (or any) presents beneath a tree have an excellent holiday. One tradition we have is watching a collection of holiday movies. While we will watch any, there are a couple that are on our “Must Watch” list every year, so much so that we purchased them on DVD in case we can’t find them on cable or satellite. We pop up some popcorn, curl under blankets, and sip hot chocolate as we watch. For us, this is better than any gift.
- Now, I know what some people may be thinking at this point—that all of that sounds good, but little children do not understand and will be disappointed. Okay, so this is where teaching moments about materialism come into play and help shaping values. Additionally, there are other ways to combat this. My child has a summer birthday, which meant most of her friends were away on summer vacation and wasn’t around for her birthday. Plus, family lived in a different town, which could make travel an issue at times. Since birthday parties were difficult to arrange due to these factors, the tradition was developed to spend the day doing fun activities. Over the years, we attended plays, visited museums and planetariums, had picnics, went on boat rides, etc. Many of the activities we engaged in were either free or had minimum costs. The same could be done for the holidays—driving around town and viewing decorations, going caroling, baking holiday cookies, playing in the snow (if you have snow), making crafts, refurbishing old toys to make them better, etc. Children may play with toys or wear clothes for a season, but they will always cherish fond memories.
- Now, this isn’t for everyone as I know plenty of people who are opposed to decorating or believe that decorating is only for children. In fact, a coworker proclaimed that since her children were grown that she was “past decorating.” I don’t know where the idea came from that decorating was only for children. If that were the case, the billion-dollar holiday decorations retail industry has it all wrong and has been making their money on a fluke. Literally, every time I hear this, my mind automatically pictures Charles Dicken’s Scrooge character. (Btw, that is one of the movies on our “Must Watch” list.) Decorating and making a home or a workplace festive can bring a great deal of joy.
- This may sound a bit odd, but invest in a sunlamp. If it is the darkness that has your mood sinking this time of year, some experts suggest using at-home portable sunlamps as an option for combating seasonal depression.
- Ditch dieting but adapt a good diet. Everyone knows dieting during the holidays is nearly always a bust. So, forget about it. Eat in moderation, but if you fall off the wagon with the strawberry cheesecake or haystacks, save the guilt and dieting for New Years. That being said, do try to maintain a healthy diet during the holidays. It’s so very easy to snack instead of consuming a “real meal.” A balance diet helps keep one’s energy up and avoid sugar-crashes, stomach aches, and nightmares or insomnia.
- Remember to exercise. I know that’s a dirty word for some people, but exercising has been proven to increase endorphins which can improve mood (and memory). The positive aspect about exercising is that it can be done in a variety of ways from running to swimming to dancing to weightlifting to aerobics to yoga to sports. There literally are endless ways to work exercising into one schedule and most of these are free. (Don’t we all just love free?”)
I want to end on another less mentioned group are the people who become so invested in the holidays that they forget to enjoy them. They are super busy getting things organized or agonizing over having things perfect that they miss all the fun. The holidays become a source of stress and work.
One of the secretaries at work becomes bitter each year with decorating the office. She says it’s “unnecessary.” Mind you, she does not have to pay for any of the decorations; there aren’t many; and they are stored in clearly marked boxes with easy access. Because her desk is located in the lobby, she feels the entire lobby is her area and that employees and/or clients have no say (or interest) in what occurs there. She views anything holiday-related, whether it be to hang a wreath on the door, fill candy dishes with peppermints, or display received holiday cards, as work. When she’s asked to address and send holiday cards to other departments, she complains that it is a waste of paper.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, another employee always would take it upon herself to oversee the staff Christmas party. She would schedule the date and time and rally for other employees’ participation. However, she often went overboard to the point that she drove her coworkers to the brink of insanity with her persistence that they give her answers so that she could micromanage every part of the party. Before long, she could suck the fun out of anything, and ultimately, she didn’t enjoy any of it herself.
I’m convinced that between these two examples, there is a middle ground where holiday peace and harmony exist. Not everything has to be perfect. In fact, perfection can sometimes be found in imperfection. The most horrible, misshapen dessert may be the one that tastes the best.
So, that’s all that I have. Are you a fan of sports romance? What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with these points? Did you find any of this information helpful? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. If you like this post, please click the like button and share it. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.
Penalty Kill, book #4 in the Locker Room Love sports romance series is now available for purchase. Grab your copy at Amazon or at https://books2read.com/penaltykill for more options. Continue reading for the blurb and more information.
When the scandal of a double homicide threatens to destroy his career, this billionaire hockey player hires an ambitious sports agent to improve his public image. It’s time to let the puckery begin.
Timothée Croneau is that jock—the bad boy superstar with the naughty reputation. He’s handsome, arrogant, and a billionaire. He’s also the number one person of interest in a double homicide and recently traded to a losing team who is showing him no love. And wouldn’t it be just his luck that his career splashed in the toilet six months after his long-time agent kicked the bucket? Now, he’s stuck with Ryker Kitsch. An agent is supposed to fix his life, though, not break his heart.
Speaking of breaks, ex-athlete Ryker Kitsch wants his in the sports agency realm. He sees his chance to make a name for himself by helping rebrand his agency’s newly acquired hockey star, Timothée Croneau. The guy needs every lick of positive PR he can get. So, why is the devilishly gorgeous forward fighting him at every step and leaving Ryker to wonder if he’s been hired for a babysitting gig?
The mess Timothée is stirring was never in any contract Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.
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Missed the three in my hockey romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box (book #1), where it is one minute in the box or a lifetime out, is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit http://bit.ly/2i9SqpH.
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Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.