Whether you’re already in full-blown Elf mode or channeling Scrooge, the holidays are here. For some people, this means joy and excitement, and for others this comes with a sense of dread and sadness. The holidays aren’t always merry, nor should they be. The holidays are still real life, and that means the full range of emotions are on the table.
So while I don’t want to promote a “just be happy” message this holiday, I do want to spread a message of “make the most of what you have.” Be intentional and strategic to extract as much goodness as possible this season, even if that goodness is sitting right next to a pile of pain. Both can exist together.
So without further ado, here are five simple tips to help you maximize joy this holiday.
1. Put your phone away. Yes, I know. It might sound lame that this is the first tip, because it’s not new or Earth-shattering. Yet it continues to be so hard for most of us. You know why? Because phones are literally addicting. (Want proof? Watch this.) Having a phone in your hand takes you out of the present moment. How can you maximize joy this holiday if you’re not even in the moment Plus, your phone has a way of inducing the comparison game, dulling your shine and dampening your joy. Remember, putting your phone down isn’t enough. It needs to be put away. (Read more on why here.)
2. Eat your favorite treat slowly. The holidays are full of deliciously tasty treats. Throw that in with nostalgia, and we can’t seem to get enough. (I’m talking to you gingerbread cookies and pecan pie!) Slow down and really savor that treat. Notice the flavors and textures with more attention and awareness. Maximize joy by going from eating that treat to really enjoying that treat. For super simple instructions on how to do this with almost any treat, click here.
3. Do one thing at a time. In case you missed the memo, multitasking is not effective. And it’s definitely not conducive to joy. It harms performance, increases stress, reduces focus, and impacts memory. (Aka, it’s not helpful if you want to maximize joy.) Therefore, do one thing at a time this holiday. Wrap gifts, watch a movie with your family, take a walk with your kids, or call your sister to chat. But don’t try to do all these at once.
4. Have a mantra to help you refocus. I wish we could set our brains to “maximize joy” mode and leave them there all holiday season. But that’s not how our brains work. They wander and worry, get distracted and bent out of shape. Have a go to statement this season to redirect your attention when it gets off track. I’ve got several statements to choose from on my site, but this one and this one are current favorites. Need help creating a mantra? Check out this video to help you!
5. Savor the good moments. Savoring isn’t just for food. It’s awesome for moments and experiences. With a little bit of practice, you can learn to bottle up magical moments, maximizing joy and accessing it later. Want to start savoring? Check out this piece I wrote for Becoming Minimalist. This is probably the tip on this list that has most changed my life.
However you’re entering this holiday, I hope you make space to maximize joy this holiday. It’s not always easy, but I promise it’s worth it.
What tip do you want to be more mindful of this holiday weekend?