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December 13, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
WOW MAGAZINE | 15
By Chris Freytag
WHILE OTHERS ARE BAKING CHRISTMAS COOK-
IES and scaling their roofs to hang up sparkling lights,
you might not be feeling as sweet and sparkly. All of
the cheer and merriment of Christmas can shine a
bright light on whatever issue you might be facing ---
a loss of a loved one, the loss of a pet, a year that
didn't go as planned, a relationship ending, or a per-
sonal challenge --- and you'd rather stay under the
covers and wake up when it's January. It's tough to
be down in the dumps or going through a tough time
when everything around you is turning into a Hall-
mark card and everyone is so darn happy. Going into
hibernation 'til January isn't practical (or healthy), so
I put together a game plan for you to help you
through December. And maybe, just maybe, you
might enjoy it a little bit, too.
1. PAY TRIBUTE.
If you're experiencing a loss that has you feeling
empty and sad, use your emotions to pay tribute. If
you lost a family member this year, you can do this
by working on a photo album, writing a personal trib-
ute you can share with other family members, or
sharing stories and memories of the person you lost.
If your loss is a relationship ending (divorce or a
break-up) try to switch the focus and pay tribute to
your own life. In what ways have you been neglecting
yourself? What are some things you could do for just
you that would restore your spirit? If it's a beloved
family pet, donate some of your time to the local an-
imal shelter or create a positive memory by framing
a picture of your cherished pet. Rather than dwelling
in a place of loss, take some small steps that create
a feeling of comfort in you.
2. PRACTICE GRATITUDE.
Whether times are great or tough, gratitude is the
number one instant mood lifter. Take the time out to
notice what's going right. Even if you're going through
a difficult personal challenge, there's always some-
thing to be grateful for in your life. Think of three
things when you wake up in the morning. or make a
list of all the things you are grateful for when your
day ends. You will be reminding yourself to pay at-
tention to and spend some time with the positive.
3. SCAN FOR THE THINGS YOU LIKE.
Maybe you aren't going through a loss or a specific
problem right now, you just don't like the holidays be-
cause you don't like where your life is at. You aren't
quite ready to put a big Christmas bow around your
life yet. Remember, your life doesn't have to be per-
fect for you to enjoy it. You can open your arms to
your flawed and fabulous life. Put yourself on a mis-
sion to scan for what you do like about the holidays.
You don't have to put your happiness on hold just be-
cause you have some personal goals still in progress.
4. INVEST IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS.
When you're faced with an obstacle, your support
system matters most. Lean on family and friends.
Reach out. Talk to them. Our relationships make us
feel like we are all in this together. Don't go solo; let
others lift you up. Even better? Grab a friend and take
a walk or go to a group fitness class. Moving your
body and connecting with friends are two ways to
greatly enhance your overall well-being.
5. DO SOMETHING KIND FOR SOMEONE ELSE.
The best way to get out of your own head --- espe-
cially when it's a painful or sorrowful place to be --- is
to redirect your focus to someone else. "Giving back
to someone else is not only kind, it's the best way to
feel better about yourself."
6. BE OPEN TO NEW TRADITIONS.
If people or circumstances in your life have changed
to where you can't have the holiday that you like to
have, simply start new traditions. It might be hard to
do things differently if you liked how things used to
be, but you have the power to create new traditions
for your family to cherish.
Start with these questions:
1. What do you want your holiday to be like this year?
2. How can you make that happen?
7. FLOOD YOUR BRAIN WITH FUNNY.
Don't you just love the feeling of laughing so hard you
get tears in your eyes? Tune in to your favourite com-
edy, or sit down with your super hilarious friend.
Whatever makes you laugh, immerse yourself in it
for a little levity and an escape from what's weighing
you down. December might be painful for you be-
cause of what you are going through, but you can
make it better with lots of self-compassion and kind-
ness. Even during hard times, you have a choice about
what you think and what you feel. I hope you even
discover some magical moments of joy this holiday
• Chris Freytag is a top US fitness expert, public
speaker, contributing editor to Prevention
magazine and an author of several books, including
Ten Foods Not To Eat If You Want To Lose Weight.
See her at chrisfreytag.com
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