It’s the season of joy.
A season of sharing and giving.
A season where we should be our happiest.
Even if you don’t celebrate traditionally during this time of year, it is still easy to buy into the season and enjoy the pleasures that it brings. Gift-giving and receiving, winter catch-ups with friends and family, judging the festive advertisements, indulging in sweet treats and hearty meals. And of course, time off work or school to celebrate and rest. The energy is infectious and can bring a lot of people a lot of joy.
However, the season of joy can be overwhelming and inundating for some. For those who experience the winter blues or SAD. Those suffering a loss of some sort. Or for those who do not celebrate. It can all be a bit too much. With so much of the season becoming transactional, it can become a spectacle.
The joyful energy is everywhere, and we are supposed to revel in it. We’re supposed to be happy, and spread happiness, even if we aren’t feeling it ourselves. We should be busier with extra things to do. Have more people to see. And seemingly most important, more things to buy. Splurging on gifts, only to worry about making it through the holidays and to the next payday. The transactional nature of the season has commodified joy and happiness. To be truly happy during this time of year, we apparently must be willing to buy more. But also, be more available than we are comfortable being. And to act happier than we are.
A season that brings joy to so many often brings feelings of sadness and stress to others. The ever-demanding nature of the season can be a lot for some. Feeling out of place and almost foolish for not feeling the same happiness that others do.
The stressful nature of the season can mean you never feel the happiness and joy that you should. It turns into a fictitious display of happiness, in which you may mask your true feelings to appease others and perhaps yourself. Being present during the holiday season when you are not as joyous as others can be exhausting.
It is okay to not be active or present in the holiday festivities if they do not bring you joy. You don’t have to buy into every facet of the season, scheduling and forcing happiness to be a part of it. There are things you can do to make things easier and lighter during the season to prioritise yourself and your happiness.
Celebrate What You Want
Personalise your festivities to suit how you are feeling. We implore you to stop re-configuring and altering yourself to fit the season. Instead, change the season to suit you.
Change what you celebrate, who you celebrate with and the way you celebrate. Change whatever you need to to ensure you are truly happy during the season. Create traditions that allow you to prioritise yourself and your joy.
A common experience during this season is that you may feel obliged to be overly available. Available to plans, invitations and events, even when you do not want to be. Say no to things that do not excite you.
This will allow you to spend more time finding joy and prioritising yourself. Saying no to plans and people, you can truly connect with who and what brings you joy.
Appreciate the Smaller Things
Appreciating the sentiment of things during this season is a great way to find joy in the newer transactional nature of it all. Remind yourself of what used to bring you joy during this time of year and celebrate it. Revel in the sentiment of the season and reconnect with the things, moments and people that mean the most to you.
Happiness is found in the pursuit of simpler pleasures and by appreciating the smaller things you can find light in the season.
Reject Social Comparison
The commodification of the festive season has been amplified through the sharing of experiences on social media. Leaving us to compare our experiences and happiness to the people we see online. We immediately assume others are happier. We see carefully curated images designed to show perfection and joy even if it is not there.
As cliche as it may sound, comparison truly is the thief of joy. Comparing yourself to others and their experiences, festivities, and happiness is antithetical to fuelling your joy. If comparing yourself and your life to others is to your detriment take breaks from social media, spend some time with yourself and indulge in some self-care and love.
The festive season can be a lot. It can amplify feelings of loneliness, loss, sadness and despair. We implore you to not keep your emotions, anxieties and worries to yourself. Share how you feel with others and seek out support if you feel particularly low.
Commercialised and transactional festivities are antithetical to the season’s initial premise of joy. If you struggle to find joy during this season and feel particularly low, reject the commodified nature of it. Bring value to the small things that fuel your joy and happiness. Create and change traditions to be newer and intentional in making yourself happier and more joyful.
Make yourself available to only what excites you. The season of joy can be made joyful for all.
Honour your feelings, prioritise yourself and reject any transactional notions that infringe on your happiness.