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4 Great Self-Reminders For the Holidays

4 Great Self-Reminders For the Holidays

As someone who has lived through over 50 Decembers, I have learned many life lessons about Hanukkah and Christmas (some I wrote about here). I consider it a good sign that I am still learning more with each holiday that passes, and as long as I am still learning life lessons — and regularly reminding myself to live by them — I can become the kind of person I am striving to be.

Since the holidays can be overwhelming at times, here are a few life lessons and worthy reminders to keep in mind:

Nobody has the perfect family or the perfect life. We are all struggling with something. The pressure to have the “perfect” holiday, with a warm and loving family, lots of gifts and decorations, and the perfect life partner, often makes people depressed and makes this time of year hard because most of our realities don’t match this fantasy. One of the advantages of being post-50, is that the older I get, the more people I get to know. Those people have shared their experiences with me. Even people who from the outside I thought had the “perfect” life, might have a dysfunctional family that they are estranged from, have financial problems, have lost loved ones to substance abuse or alcoholism, struggle with loneliness at the loss of a partner from illness or divorce, or are fighting an illness themselves.

No matter how sad we might feel,being good to others really does make us feel better. As I wrote last year, giving is good for us. When I give a friend a gift, when I do something nice for a stranger, or when I volunteer and help others in the community, I often feel that I get back just as much, or even more than they do. I stop thinking about myself and think about them. Happiness is contagious.

Create the kind of holiday tradition that you value and that means something to you. Just because you have always done something, or because your parents did it, doesn’t mean it is still right for you. Make a commitment to yourself to only do those things that makes the holiday happier for you, not something that makes you feel sad or creates more stress than pleasure. To use an over-used clich “life is short,” and the time we have to share it is limited — so don’t waste your days.

Be good to yourself. Do not forget self-care; it is even more important during the holidays. Stick to your exercise and healthy eating routine as much as possible, schedule alone time so you can relax, unplug and recharge. Don’t forget to do the little things that make you feel good. After all, it’s the season of giving, and you should put yourself at the top of the list. If you don’t, you will have nothing left to give to other people.

Are there any life lessons that you have learned from some of your hard holidays? Share them in the comments section so that others can learn from them too.

Related:
8 Things I’d Love to Tell My Younger Self
15+ Ways to Give Back for the Holidays

Read more: Christmas, Hanukkah, Healthy Aging, Holidays, Holidays & Gifts, Life, Mental Wellness, New Year, Stress,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

45 comments

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2:25AM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Thank you :)

6:54PM PST on Jan 7, 2014

Thank you for a positive and respectful article - this is good advice.

1:37PM PST on Jan 6, 2014

Thank you!

2:12PM PST on Dec 26, 2013

Great article, there are many types of celebrations and they are all good, honor them all and honor all people. Love, Peace and Joy and Caring is what it is all about. Perhaps there is hope for humanity yet.

Peace, Love and Joy to all ; )

7:47PM PST on Dec 25, 2013

thanks

11:15PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Thanks, Judi!

7:04PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Every Christmas I witness people rushing about and trying to do everything for everyone and all I want to do is tell them to take a deep breath -- this is a time to be with family -- to share your time and love -- it's not about the gifts or food.

For those with dysfunctional families, and there are out there more than you might suspect, it is okay not to be with family. Be with friends. If you are utterly alone in a community, you need not be alone -- volunteer as there are charities in need of assistance.

6:52PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

And just be careful what you ask Santa for.

2:48PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

I just want to comment on the previous comment: last year I spent Christmas alone in South Spain due to an exchange programme and hell, I had a FANTASTIC holiday, I was the happiest person in the world. I didn't have to suffer from my family's stress - because they want to make million things this time of the year and it is unbearable. I also had a fantastic weather, lovely landscape with palm trees. I wish I could be there again, I didn't mind to have a year without Christmas, the best thing ever!! (However, I like our traditional Christmas cake which my family prepares. :P)

2:35PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

The holidays need to be shared.

If you find yourself without someone, find a place to volunteer

Anything to get you around people.

Spending a holiday alone is extremely mentally unhealthy.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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