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Alone for the Holidays? Here are Ten Ways to Lift Your Spirits

Alone for the Holidays? Here are Ten Ways to Lift Your Spirits

Holidays can be a very lonely time, particularly for those who spend the holidays solo. Below are ten tips to keep yourself balanced, sane and productive over the holidays, with options for both extroverts and introverts alike.

1) Plan your time in advance

You’ll have several days to fill up, so be proactive. Find books and movies you have always wanted to read and watch, and make a list of events that you’d like to attend. Without a plan you might find yourself being alone and bored, which will lower your spirits.

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2) Use your time wisely

Make a list of things you have always wanted to do but never had the time for. See this time alone as a gift: a stretch of time where you have total control to do whatever you want. Use it wisely.

3) Find support

Extroverts can reach out to others to touch base during the holidays. Note that scheduling time to talk with friends and loved ones makes contact more likely to happen. Introverts get support internally, so journaling and taking some time for personal reflection is a good idea.

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4) Don’t wallow

Holidays alone tend to be times when beating yourself up and getting depressed are more likely to happen. Do something fun, instead! Avoid solo holiday depression by re-framing your time by yourself as an opportunity to grow. Be grateful—some people who are enduring family dinners wish they were in your place.

5) Get social

Reach out to your social network and find out who is orphaned like you are and bring them together. Meet for dinner, a movie, go for drinks, or throw a party. Extend an invitation to those with whom you have a lot in common. Introverts may want to arrange one-on-one meetings with close friends, or have Skype chats with friends from afar.

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6) Accept Invitations

If friends invite you out to parties or to spend Christmas with their family, accept their invitations. If you feel you are being invited out of pity, get over it: self-pity is vastly overrated, and they wouldn’t invite you if they didn’t want you there.

7) Volunteer

Food banks, shelters and crisis centers are short-staffed during holidays when the demand is greatest. Helping out those in need will make you feel good, and will brighten other people’s holidays in turn.

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8) Indulge yourself

Holidays are a time when people indulge themselves, so splurge on a few things you wouldn’t ordinarily buy yourself. Comfort food is always welcome!

9) Random Act of Kindness

Do something kind. It might be feeding birds or squirrels in the park or buying a sandwich for a homeless person. It will make you feel lighter and more grateful for what you have.

10) Have Faith

If you are religious, find a church service to attend, or seek out something you regard as spiritual such as meditation, yoga, exercise, a walk in the park, or being around animals. Use this as an opportunity to replenish your spiritual juice.

Featured photo credit:  Young woman in Santa’s hats via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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