Join the “club” if the days right after the holidays are the most difficult times of the year.
We have been singing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” for the past month and then suddenly – it’s all over! Wading through scraps of wrapping paper that once held surprises, remnants of half-eaten candy left by kids with eyes all aglow, and ears ringing with the deafening silence. We all know these dreaded days are coming, as they do every year; but we fool ourselves by squeezing out as much fun as possible. Until every relative has returned home, every candle has burned down and every note has been written, we are still somehow “in the Spirit.”
Now, here we are as in “golden days of yore” facing reality as if the circus just left town. Already missing the children who were driving us crazy a few days ago, regretting the chocolate we allowed ourselves to overeat, and avoiding the house we never want to clean again, we ponder the prospect of procrastination. Before us lie two choices – take a cruise or face the blues? Option one is always the best – fun, food and friends. But option two is inevitable – just prolonged.
Well, friends, I submit to you there is indeed a third choice that some of us have stumbled on through the years.
As a retired high school teacher, I used to convince my students that dreaded parts of the curriculum were actually the most fun. I began preparing them for the old “diagramming sentences” for weeks in advance by tricking them into thinking they were having fun. I felt a bit like Tom Sawyer in the Mark Twain classic where he pretended painting the fence was such fun, all of his friends wanted to join in the game as well. So using this analogy, follow the three steps that seem to work – even if we are only tricking ourselves:
- Plan the most dreaded “chore” first, by inviting over a good friend and promising to make it fun. Have an efficient strategy but take plenty of breaks for drinks and chats.
- Have your favorite upbeat music on with a timeline guided by the number of songs: one hour, three hours, all day? Be sure to stop for the day when that timeline is complete, and reward yourselves with dinner, an activity, movie, or so forth.
- No matter how bad the past week, the entire holiday – or even the whole past year has been, there is one surefire cure-all to beat the blues – that is to count your blessings. It may sound cliché, but at the end of the day, if you and your friend follow through, you will add this to your holiday agenda from here on. If this is a good friend or close relative, you already know all the challenges of the past year: the illnesses, the disappointments, the heartaches, and fears. But today – if only for a half hour or so, take time to share and dwell on the things for which you are grateful: the individual favorite family members, the kind neighbor, a trip you enjoyed, a new friend you made. Then share your hopes and dreams for the next year and if you are so inclined, seal the day with a hug and perhaps even a friend-to-friend prayer.
The day that in the past would have been full of the blues or blahs – has instead been blessed. Now offer the same for your friend and expect a double blessing!
Read more posts by Debra Peppers, Ph.D., here. Dr. Peppers blogs for JenningsWire.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicity Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book marketing strategies to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major top city radio talk shows that broadcast to the heart of the market, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers.