And just in the past few weeks, many of us — or our friends and loved ones — have experienced first hand the devastation from the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill wildfires. As we deal with the loss and heartache that is all around, it may be harder to have the usual holiday cheer. But there are still ways to keep your family traditions alive and find joy in the holidays, no matter what the circumstances.
The holiday season is always the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with the ones you love. For many of us, that also means looking forward to family traditions that you enjoy year after year. If your family has been directly affected by the California wildfires, you may not be able to celebrate all of your traditions the way you typically do. But if you’re dealing with loss and hardship, it’s even more important to try to spend time with family and friends — and maybe even make some new traditions in the process.
Despite all the talk of holiday cheer, plenty of people still struggle with sadness or depression this time of year. Whether it’s due to the circumstances in our communities, or just the winter blues, take some time to care for yourself and find joy this holiday season.
Here are a few tips to help you stay happy and healthy this December:
- Practice gratitude. Every day, write down one thing that brought joy or gratitude into your life that day. Encourage family members to do the same thing — and have everyone put them into a jar. At the end of the month, take some time to read each one and remember how much you have to be grateful for every day.
- Give back. Bring a smile to your face — and someone else’s — by donating your time or resources this holiday season. Consider volunteering at a local shelter, or check out the numerous ways you can aid families affected by the California wildfires.
- Stay active. Exercise is always important, but it’s especially important when battling depression. We know life is busy this time of year, but make sure you’re still prioritizing your health — both physical and mental — by staying active.
- Focus on what matters. It’s easy to get caught up in the shopping, gifts, and endless sales this time of year. But take a breather and remember to prioritize the things that matter most in your life.
If you find just a few ways to care for yourself and those around you this month, you may find yourself enjoying the holidays even more than in past years.
This article first appeared in the December 2018 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.