F. Scott Fitzgerald described it best when he wrote, “Life starts all over again, when it gets crisp in the fall.” And with the holidays upon us, are you taking the time to enjoy every moment or has the season become an impossible juggling act of managing work responsibilities with family obligations and tasks?
At the very least, take a breath and know…you are not alone. In research conducted by the American Psychological Association, 78% of Americans state they often feel happiness around the holidays while also associating stress and fatigue with the most wonderful time of the year.
So how can you manage the staggering responsibilities of work and family during the holidays? These simple tips are easy to remember, and can make a huge difference in your happiness levels throughout the season – whether at work or at home.
1. Give Thanks
Did you know that scientists have conclusively demonstrated that brain waves change over time in people who consciously practice gratitude, resulting in greater happiness levels and reduced anxiety? No matter what your personal, financial, or work situation is this season, make it a point to find 3 things every day for which to be thankful. Even the smallest of things can count – like making all the green lights during your commute to the office.
2. Remember it is the People that Count
In a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 69% of Americans reported that what made them the most happy during the holidays was time spent with family and friends. Notice that quality of the casseroles served at the office potluck, the type of holiday center piece displayed, and the cost of the gift to your boss were not included in this answer. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. Relationships and connecting with those that are important and influence us are the priority. It doesn’t matter what you serve or how much you spend.
3. Fight Social Isolation
So let’s say you’re one of those folks who doesn’t have a large family or lots of friends with whom to celebrate the holidays. You live away from those you would normally spend this time with. Or perhaps you’re more introverted. Reaching out to others, whether by volunteering or inviting your neighbors across the hall in for cocoa and cookies, will provide you with a lasting mood boost that researchers have found commensurate with the effects of powerful antidepressants and exercise.
Breathe in, exhale…and whatever your special way of celebrating is, don’t ever forget the impact you can make on others simply by having a positive attitude. A warm smile to a stranger, a heartfelt thank you to a co-worker – these are the things that make the season special.