Holiday cards from far-flung friends. Memorized holiday songs. Favorite rituals, now improvised with a social 2020 twist. This time of year can bring on serious nostalgia, which can feel joyful and melancholy. And in a time of year where we are constantly being told to be happy, it can be tough to admit that sometimes, it’s just not authentic. Especially this year, when we can’t even lean on comforting traditions we may have had in the past.
At Lifetherapy, we believe that we can take charge of our moods. But in order to choose your mood, you first have to acknowledge where you are right now. And sometimes, honoring your feelings is exactly what you need to clear space for new feelings. Here, how to honor the grief of what may have been and embrace the year that was.
- Find a new ritual. It can be so easy to focus on what we don’t have. But what can you add to the season? Maybe it’s a socially distant walk in the woods. Maybe it’s waking up early every morning until the New Year to meditate. Maybe it’s donating the money you would have spent on holiday travel to a cause that’s important to you. Write a list of new traditions and think on which one speaks to your soul.
- Reach out. You’re not alone. So many people are experiencing complicated feelings, especially at this time of year. Consider connecting to someone much older or much younger than you. Sending a card and forging a pen pal relationship with a nonagenarian in a local assisted living facility can shift your perspective. So can sending a goofy TikTok to your tweenage niece. The point: Reaching out helps reframe your perspective and widens your world.
- Go Through the Motions. Sometimes, the best way to choose your mood is to lean into action. You may not feel like decorating the house or wrapping presents or participating on a socially distant loop around the neighborhood lights. But tell yourself you’ll go for it. Tell yourself you can quit after ten minutes. But more often than not, going through the motions can translate into a mood lift.
- Fill Your Cup. In a crazy-busy time of year, it can be easy to put yourself last. And so often, that neglect causes your mood to tank. Commit to just five minutes a day doing what you love. Maybe it’s reading a few pages of a book, enjoying a coffee or tea, or (of course) indulging in luxuriously sensuous shower products. Come up with a list of five-minute self-care routines and commit to doing one a day.