Reestablish Joy This Holiday Season Positive shared the article Three Steps To A Low Stress, High-Joy Holiday Season. The article outlines a 3-part plan so you can actually enjoy the holidays and find the experience to be memorable and stress-free.

The first step is all about reconnecting. I love this quote from the author,

“Let me not mince words here: This sense that we are connected and part of a larger whole is the single strongest predictor of happiness that we have.”

It is my opinion this is especially true when it comes to celebrations. If our goal is to reconnect to those we love, respect and whose company we enjoy, the chances we will be pleased with our holiday experience and gain happy memories from celebration activities grows exponentially.

The second step is to schedule your holiday events and tasks, plus pencil in some downtime to rest and renew yourself. Staying up until 3 am, year after year, to wrap gifts is no fun. And while this step probably should have been started a month ago, it can still be a good exercise for the next week or two. Make a list of the events and tasks you need to do, and want to do. What’s most important? Holiday cards not started— can you send out New Year’s cards instead? Or how about starting a new tradition and sending out Valentine’s Day cards (author Gretchen Rubin’s family tradition discussed in her book The Happiness Project). Using step one’s principle of reconnection is a great way to prioritize the activities on your list.

Step three is all about gratitude. By trading in expectations for appreciation, we experience more joy. This helps reduce, or even eliminate, the post-holiday blues. Pick one thing, right now, that you love and appreciate. Here’s a little dose of appreciation from me: I really appreciate the gift of holiday music in the music styles I like that a Pandora Christmas music station provides. I don’t have to listen to Santa Baby sung by 4 different artists if I don’t want to. I can enjoy listening to White Christmas by The Eddie Higgins Trio instead, which ups my joy quotient in an instant. What is one thing you appreciate right now? I’d love to read your appreciations. Please share in the comment section below.

If you would like to schedule an activity to reconnect with family and friends, or start a new holiday tradition, in the Seattle area, below is a list of a few local activities that last the whole holiday season.

Cheers to making happy holiday memories while leaving stress in the dust!

Photo Credit: By Seattle Municipal Archives (Flickr: Luminaria at Lake Washington, 2002) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons