The holidays are the time of year many of us most look forward to, but for some, it’s the most dreaded time of the year. In fact, one in 20 Americans believe the best part of the holiday season is when it comes to an end, according to Pew Research. There are a range of reasons people don’t enjoy the holidays, including the loss of a loved one, difficult dealings with family members and increased feelings of anxiety and stress.
But one happiness expert says we can have a merrier holiday season, even if we’ve struggled with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues in the past. Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and author of “How to Make a Sad Holiday a Little Merrier,” explains how to do just that.
He says especially during the holidays, people are encouraged to share gatherings and celebrations with loved ones on social media. But it’s easy to forget that those posts are rarely an accurate picture of people’s real lives. “No one posts a photo of a blowout political argument at dinner, or mentions the crippling anxiety they get from the credit-card debt they racked up buying presents,” Brooks explains.
- So he says the best way to deal with those feelings of insecurity that may come up is to stay off social media for the time being.
- In addition to not seeing other people’s posts, being off your phone will help you make your own memories that aren’t tainted by comparing them to others. It also lets you be fully present so you can enjoy the time with your loved ones.
- Managing expectations and savoring the anticipation and excitement of the holidays can help us enjoy them more as well.
- If you’re not spending time with friends or family during the holidays, it’s still important not to isolate yourself, Brooks says. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter to give back to your community and cultivate gratitude for your life.
- Even if you’ve had more bad holidays than good ones, it’s never too late to start your own traditions for the holidays that bring you joy.
Source: Evie Magazine