You may think you are the only person who isn’t gleeful about the upcoming holidays.

However, for many (and for most adults) the holidays are accompanied with an understandable amount of dread. We are around people, who push our buttons or that we don’t enjoy spending time with. For some people it’s the feeling of loneliness and lacking the relationships we think we ought to have.

If any of these are your experience you are not alone. Here are some tips to help transform your holiday experience:

  1. Recognize that you are not alone and stop comparing yourself to people you think have the perfect family or “love the holidays!” Unless you are a child awaiting toys on Christmas this is often not the case.
  2. Don’t let guilt about spending time with others lead you to over-commit. Being thankful also means being present to enjoy your life. So, in addition to doing things for others, make sure to continue to do things for yourself. Maybe you will treat yourself to something special.
  3. Connect with the people that you are close with instead of fantasizing about the relationships with people who you are separated from.
  4. Do something active take a walk, exercise, go to a yoga class
  5. Treat yourself well (and I don’t mean by allowing yourself to eat until you have to put elastic on your pants). I mean pamper yourself, take a day off work, treat yourself to a movie for example
  6. Open your mouth. It never ceases to amaze me how helpful it is to simply share with people what’s going on with you. More often than not, people appreciate opportunities to be there for others and it often creates a reciprocal benefit by opening the door for someone else to share what’s going on with them.
  7. Get rest and adequate sleep.
  8. Get into the light. Pathologize it if you like, (seasonal affective disorder), but just getting some sunlight just does the body good!
  9. Ask for help whether it be personal or professional
  10. LAUGH whether it’s for a reason or for none at all. Just do it. Laughing is therapeutic.