By Sunny Simon

This year you’ll find me happily enjoying the love, warmth and joy of the holidays. I’m eating the gingerbread with reckless abandon, drinking the eggnog (preferably spiked) and singing along with Christmas music on my Pandora playlist as I gleefully add ribbons and bows to presents wrapped with loving care.  

If you just read that paragraph and are considering tossing the article aside because you’re feeling more like the Grinch than one of Santa’s merry little elves, I understand but urge you to read on. No doubt you are dealing with something prohibiting you from experiencing the magical glow of the season. I get it. You are not alone, anyone over the age of eighteen has probably encountered a time when hearing another HO, HO, HO was beyond endurable.

Perhaps you’re immersed in feelings of sadness that heighten when those around you are bubbling over with the holly jollies. If you are in a deep depression, it is important to seek out help from a trained professional, but if your bout with the blues is less serious, I can offer up two choices.  

Number one, if you’re truly incapable of sucking it up and putting on a happy face, give yourself permission to sit this one out. Gracefully, but firmly, say no when invited to make merry with friends and relatives. No need to go into lengthy declinations, just briefly explain your intention to observe the season in solitude and quiet reflection. Then treat yourself with loving kindness by planning a holiday for one. Stock your pantry with your favorite foods, eat dessert first, and if you like, stay in your pj’s for an entire day. Binge on Netflix, or dive into a great novel.

Keeping the world at bay is perfectly acceptable, but only for a short duration. No hiding under the covers forever. Adhere to a set time limit, then shake off your holiday funk and return to the land of the living.

Your second option is to ease yourself into the spirit. Make a lunch date with a special friend who makes you laugh, or go to a funny movie. Try treating yourself to a small gift that delights you. Once you’ve brightened your mood at bit use your talents to help others. Volunteer at a shelter, or connect with the Salvation Army and spend a few hours ringing the bell while wishing others good times and good will. Beginning with a small celebration and ending with community service might have you looking forward to a festive New Year’s Eve. Cheers!

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog, www.lifeonthesunnyside.net

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