The winter holiday season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice or any other big family-centred celebration, while filled with joy for some, can be stressful and even triggering for others. Sometimes it’s a mixture of all those feelings and then some. The question is how can we find joy in whatever we’re celebrating and not sink into the negative feelings?
At SeeKindness it starts with kindness to yourself. And we don’t mean going out and splurging on expensive toys and gadgets. The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to set boundaries. Feeling obligated to attend that holiday gathering with co-workers? Family putting pressure on you to get on a plane? Mom insisting that you go visit Auntie so-and-so? Keep in mind it’s okay to say no. You don’t have to be mean about it, you can simply say that you are not up to it and then not go.
If you find that you can’t say no, or maybe you want to see family but still feel stressed about it, another kindness tip can help here. Families have a way of pushing our buttons. Somehow, perfectly normal, sane adults magically revert to their immature, petty, middle school selves the moment they come in contact with family. If you find that happening to you, first be kind to the immature version of yourself who just showed up. They are likely just trying to protect you. Thank them for coming, let them know that you’ve got this, and then invite them to go play somewhere else for a bit. Secondly, with your boundaries set, be kind to the people around you. Auntie so-and-so making a snide remark about how much weight you’ve gained? Try responding with “I see you are thinking about my health Auntie, and I appreciate that, but I am already talking to someone about it.” If Auntie persists, keep your boundary and stay kind. You can always say, “I’d prefer not to talk about it anymore, I’d much rather catch up on what you’ve been doing.”
Maybe you don’t have a big family to visit with this season and are feeling a little lonely. Again, kindness to the rescue. Think about volunteering to support others who may be feeling lonely too. Helping others through charitable giving or volunteering lights up the same parts of our brain as food, connection, and pleasure. It’s what is known as a “helpers high” because the part of our brains that lights up is the same as when we eat delicious food or receive rewards. Helping others helps us forget our own problems and focus on someone else. It’s a win-win.
Finally, you may be worried about spending too much this year, especially for family and friends who live far away. SeeKindness is very excited to announce that we are launching BisOO! From the French word for kiss (bisous), BisOO are group e-cards that can be sent anywhere in the world. Think of them as a virtual group hug. BisOO send as a personalized map of kindness and gratitude to the recipient and anyone can sign! Have your whole extended family sign a BisOO for grandma wishing her happy holidays (without worrying the card won’t get there in time!) The more photos and videos added the better. Everyone who signs gets to pin their message to the map so your loved one can look around the world at all the people who love them! It’s perfect for Covid if you can’t hug in person. Plus, it’s eco-friendly!
We wish you all a happy, joyous, and kindness-filled holiday season (whatever the holiday and whatever the season!)