10 Solutions On How To Get Out Of The Gloom

Down days are a part of life.  Staying down is another topic.  When we find ourselves reaching and over reaching for an “experience”, “a perfect something”, “recreating a time”, “trying to make a holiday like a tv sitcom or movie”, we are absolutely going to feel gloomy.  If you do manage to pull it all off; you my friend will be too tired to enjoy what is going on around you.

How can I stop the gloom and still enjoy these next few weeks?  That’s a great question.  Here are ten very real solutions:

1.  Ask each of your family members exactly what it is that makes this time of year special for them.  Ask them to be specific.  You might find the answer different that what you expect.

2.  Ask each member of your extended family what one thing makes this time of year so special and what it is that fills them with “Joy”?  Again, you might find the answer not what you expect.

3.  If you find yourself with too many things on your “to do list”, sit your family down and tell them, “I cannot do all of this by myself,  when I do all the work, I do not enjoy the holidays….”.  Then ask two things:  “which items can you help me with?”  Write them out on sticky notes and let each person take one or two things.  Put their name on your list.  Ask for a date that the item will be completed.  Then LET GO OF THE ITEM!  The second part of this is to ask your family; “….is there anything on this list that does not have to be done in order for us to have a happy holiday?”  Again, you may be surprised.

4.  Stay in your routine.  Rest!   Turn off the TV.   Dim the lights and do something relaxing 30 minutes before your bedtime.  Stretch before bed and right after you get up.  This helps to relieve tension at night and limbers you up for the day ahead in the morning.

5.  I am a huge fan of children’s books.  I have a big wooden chest of all of my children’s holiday favorites and I decorate it and put it by the fireplace in the family room.  When I am feeling overloaded or my back is killing me….I grab a cup of tea and snuggle down in a blanket and read a book or two.  Before you know it I have relaxed and I have a big smile on my face.  (I entertain a lot, and I can’t tell you how many times I have found adults, VP’s and others reading those children’s books all dressed in black tie.  My favorite part is when that “change” happens and I see the little child come out in them, and their shoulders drop and the smile comes over their faces.  They can’t control that childlike joy!)

6.  Less is more,  if you biggest concern is finances then do not spend.  The trouble which will follow for the entire new year is a huge burden!  Reality is, if you do not have the cash to buy it do not buy it.  If you are having a huge empty feeling inside of you, and it stems from not being around those you love…….stay home and be with them!  This isn’t brain science here.  Going, going, going does not bring anyone together.  (I’d like to give you a personal example of these two things, if I may?  When I got to the point of trying to do it all for the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in our family and I stepped back and saw that it was not about all the things, cookies, decorations and such.  I slowly stopped doing as much and not one single person complained or said anything about those items not being there.  My children out grew decorating cookies and making gingerbread houses.  If I want cookies, I go and buy the sugar cutouts with sprinkles and that’s that.  As to the relatives and the going, going, going,  when I have relatives and friends at my home,  I plan NOTHING!   Did you get that NOTHING.   I provide a wonderful homey atmosphere, nutritious meals and lots and lots of great company and laughs, and story telling and getting a big dose of me and my family.  If they want to get in their rental and run around, they are more than free to do so.  When you come to my house, you are free to relax and just BE).

7.  Take time, to enjoy a day for yourself.  Maybe it is tea and cookies with a dear friend.  Perhaps it is a long candle lite bubble bath.  Perhaps a massage.  An afternnon of listening and singing along to your favorite holiday tunes.  Perhaps a long walk in the crisp air or in the snow.  Close your door (to your own private place) and put a sign on it, that you are not available until…….  (When my children were at home my sign said:  “Do not distrub unless the house is on fire or someone is dying and then call 911 first and then come get me)! 

8.  Now I realize that if you are the parent of small children some of this may not be as easy as it sounds.  You my friend are very creative and can figure out how to do this with the help of an extended family member, a girl friend, play group member, a spouse or even your next door neighbor and you “in kind” will reciprocate. 

9.  I here by give you permission to say “NO” to anything, and I mean anything that will not give you peace and energy this holiday.  You may make others unhappy, however, that is their choice.  Your choice is to say “NO”.

10.  Everyday from now until the end of the year, write down what you were happy about this day and what you are thankful for!  Just take one of those many note pads that are clogging your drawers and put it next to your place at the table or the place where you land at least once a day and write it down.  Save then and read them on December 31st.  You may want to involve your family, especially when the “I wants” start to appear.  You may also want to reflect at your last meal of 2008 about the entire year of happiness and of gratefulness and go around the table. (Our family has this tradition on Thanksgiving.  We have a special thing we do.  We also do something special at our first meal of the new year.)  You can do these things and they cost you nothing and they create lasting memories, no matter who is at your home or table.

Relax and Enjoy!