Honing in on holiday happiness

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CAP Wellness Administrator Cynthia Rena hiking

By Cynthia Rena, CAP Wellness Administrator

What brings you joy during the holidays? Is it the smell of pumpkin pie baking or the warmth of a house filled with loved ones and laughter? Or maybe it is hitting the CAP trail for a morning hike and seeing a majestic Arizona sunrise.

We like to believe the holidays are full of joy; however, it is not uncommon for many people to be sad…and that is okay too.  We often spend so much energy pushing our feelings down that we lose touch with why we felt sad in the first place. Give yourself time to be present with your feelings. By acknowledging, processing, and releasing our feelings without judgment, we can heal. This creates compassion for ourselves and others, and opens us up to new thoughts and experiences.

And isn’t that truly the reason we are here – to experience the fullness of what life has to offer? When we can be grateful for all our experiences, even the painful ones, we can begin to believe that everything is and will be okay.

Below are some tips to help you navigate this holiday season with grace, ease, and lots of joy!

  1. Make a playlist of your favorite, feel-good holiday tunes to play any time your mood needs a lift.
  2. Look at your holiday calendar and divide the events into categories based on how they make you feel:
    • I’m so excited! These are the events that make you happy just thinking of them. Prioritize these!
    • Sure, I’ll go. These are the events that have something compelling you to attend – friends, food, family, meeting new people – but you have some resistance to them. If you feel the gathering will uplift rather than deplete you, harness your adventurous spirit and go out and be merry. If you feel the gathering is just one more chore to complete, politely decline.
    • Let’s get this over with. These are the events that cause so much internal stress that you want to zone-out until they are over. How can you take care of yourself this year? Can you opt-out or set boundaries around your attendance? Can you make plans for smaller gatherings with the loved ones you want to see, but decline the larger ones that cause anxiety? Your emotional safety is important. Betraying your inner wisdom in favor of people-pleasing is so pre-pandemic. Be kind to yourself.
  3. Spend time outside every day. We are so fortunate to live in beautiful Arizona, where we can enjoy the outdoors all winter long. Going for a walk, a hike, a bike ride or just being in nature is rejuvenating and restorative.
  4. Make healthy baked goods to celebrate the spices of the season. I LOVE holiday baking but the surge of sugar in my diet makes for cranky rants and tight pants. Here is a recipe I recently found for a “No Added Sugar Challenge” we did here at CAP. I was delighted at how nutritious and delicious these muffins are.

May the spirit of the season bring you happiness, wonder, and the quiet knowing that we are all doing our best. Happy Holidays!

Editor’s note: CAP prioritizes safety and wellness and encourages all employees to “take them home.”