Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Tips to Bring Back Your Holiday Spirit During the Holidays

by Leila Hock, CSOY alumni Class of 2014, Founder and Coach at Alignment Coaching and teacher at Yoga Pod LoDo in Denver, CO

Leila Hock, Yoga Teacher & Professional Coach

Remember when the holidays used to mean nothing but joy and anticipation? Talk of gifts, time with family, time off of school and work, holiday music and everyone was smiling and in a great mood. What happened to that holiday spirit?


As we grow older, our responsibilities during the holiday season increase and the more that list grows the harder it is to hang on to the wonder and joy that used to symbolize the season for us. Instead of delighting in the first holiday decorations we see, we internally (or externally!) groan thinking of all of the holiday tasks we have to complete. Rather than dream of our favorite holiday treat that comes but once a year, we stress about whether our clothes will fit for the never ending sea of holiday gatherings. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Follow these tips for keeping your positivity up during the holiday season and you will be well on your way to reconnecting with the holiday spirit that used to come so naturally to you.

1.   Seek out the good.

Try this game: A couple of hours into your day, write down the three best parts of your day so far. These can be as simple as morning cuddles with your family or pet (my dog makes my list quite often!), listening to a great song or podcast on your drive to work or a perfect cup of morning tea. Then, mid-day, look at your list and try to beat it. What has gotten even better for you? If they are all still the same, no problem! Spend your afternoon trying to beat them. If you find that you had a great morning meeting and that beat your morning cup of tea, cross that cup of tea off the list and replace it. Do this again at the end of your day. When you make this game a habit, you’ll find you more often than not have a great day because you are in a constant state of finding gratitude and seeking opportunities to make your day even better than it already was. When you believe that your day can keep getting better and consciously look for ways to make it so, then you can’t help but see all the good things happening around you!

2. Do at least one thing for someone else every day.

Make it a point to do something totally selfless for someone every day. It can be as simple as making your family their favorite meal instead of yours or as grand as volunteering at a local food shelter. But do it. (And if giving isn’t your second nature, the holiday season is a great time to get in the habit without anyone wondering what’s going on…maybe you’ll get so good at it during the holiday season that it will become your second nature without you even knowing it!) The more you can insert joy into someone else’s life, the more joy there is to go around and the greater the likelihood some of it will hit you.

3.   Do at least one thing for yourself every day.

After you’ve spread the joy bug to those around you, make sure you don’t leave yourself out. Do something for yourself every day. The holidays are an easy time to get bogged down in obligations that others have imposed on you or that aren't supporting your needs. Make it a point to find something that serves you every day. Look at your calendar for the day and make sure there is one thing that is just for you on it. Whether it’s making it to your favorite yoga class or carving time out of your day to wake up with your favorite breakfast, commit to it. And feel good about doing it, knowing that by supporting yourself, you will be better suited to support others.

4.   Indulge mindfully.

The holidays are a time for indulgence and I personally love them for that. Take some time at the start of the holiday season to think of your favorite holiday treats and give yourself permission to indulge wholeheartedly in them. Mine are fudge and Christmas movies - and it just so happens they go great together. To make sure you don’t end this season feeling bad about yourself, limit your intake of indulgences that weren’t on your original list. If you start your holiday season with intention to allow yourself to take in more of what you love, but in a conscious way you will be able to maintain the holiday spirit without the guilt that often goes along with it.

5.   Notice something different this holiday season.

One of the reasons we lose the holiday spirit is because it becomes old hat. When you’ve been there 30 or 40 times before, it’s hard to keep the sense of wonder present during the season. So, this season, be observant and curious. How has the holiday season changed for you this year since last? What’s different about it now than it was 20 years ago? Take a moment to really notice it. Think about why it might have changed and then embrace it. We often miss the progression and change of life if we’re not seeking it. So look for it and accept it with awe. Though the holiday season can be a time of tradition, in this evolving world we live in, we can always find something unfamiliar to sit back and admire simply for what it is.

Whether the holiday season has typically been a time of challenge or joy for you, you can find love and hope through small moments of mindfulness and intention setting. The more positive we can keep our outlook during the holidays, the easier it will be to tap into the holiday spirit that used to come so easily to us. What tips and tricks keep your spirit up during the holidays? Share them in the comments below!

As an attorney, Leila watched her colleagues, clients and friends move through life without clear direction and realized she was falling into the same trap. Leila’s natural curiosity and eye for problem-solving gave her the opportunity to discern what makes people and companies work best in corporate environments. The true secret she observed is alignment. For individuals to be at their best, their tasks and goals must be aligned with their values and who they are. After receiving her coaching certification with iPEC, she founded Alignment Coaching. Leila inspires and encourages her clients to take charge of their corporate journey in a way that supports the life and future they want. Leila can help you take charge of your career, learn more about her and her offerings at www.alignment-coaching.com

For more information on Colorado School of Yoga programming, please see our website www.coloradoschoolofyoga.org.