Forget survival guides! At Langley Group, we want you to thrive, so in this article we share our ‘thrival guide’ for the festive season! 

The holiday season can be an incredibly busy time of year, with urgent projects at work, family and friends coming to visit, gifts to buy, houses to tidy ready for guests, and many more things that seem to appear out of nowhere.

With so much going on, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. There is evidence that shows this can be a difficult time of year for people’s mental health, and yet this can also be a wonderful time of year if we remember to look after ourselves. Here are six ways to nurture yourself and those around you to make sure you thrive this holiday season!

  1. Celebrate!

The end of the year is a wonderful time to look back and recognise your achievements. These could be big things like a new job or a holiday or something smaller like remembering to find time to read, dropping everything to help a friend out, or mastering a new recipe. 

Celebrating your achievements by consciously giving yourself a pat on the back or sharing them with a loved one is a simple way of giving yourself a hit of positive emotions. Remembering to stop and celebrate is an important way to sustain ourselves and keep moving forward towards our goals!

  1. Take Time for Yourself!

We know – easier said than done! Taking time for yourself could be taking yourself out for a nice lunch, treating yourself to a haircut, or going for a walk out in nature. It could even be as simple as taking five minutes to check in with yourself; being mindful of how you’re feeling and giving yourself a chance to notice your wellbeing levels. This will help engage your self-regulation mechanisms and reduce the intensity of your emotions. It can also help you identify your emotional triggers which in turn will help you better manage your emotions.

  1. Savour!

Between end of year parties, holiday lunches and gifts of chocolate, there are lots of opportunities to indulge at this time of year. Savouring is about activating all of our senses to make the most of our experiences with food, people and nature. Instead of trying to deny yourself a sweet thing or a second helping of those roast potatoes, give yourself permission to enjoy them by consciously savouring what you’re eating. Using all your senses, pay conscious attention to the smell of your food, the crunch of the outside of a potato and their buttery flavour. Savouring is a way of being mindful, present, and generating positive emotions by noticing and extending the enjoyment!

If you’re concerned about over-indulging, then savouring what you are eating means you are less likely to mindlessly eat or feel the need for seconds. We developed a savouring activity in which participants savour a chocolate Lindt ball. We invite them to be aware of how the chocolate feels in their hand, the sound of the wrapper, how the chocolate smells, the texture when you hold it and flavour of the chocolate when you take a bite. After the activity, it’s quite common for participants to remark that they never realised how sweet or rich chocolate is, as they’ve never taken the time to consciously enjoy it with that level of focus. Many say that while in the past they’ve eaten many Lindt balls in one sitting, after the exercise, one was more than enough.

  1. Gratitude!

Feeling and expressing gratitude is a great way to give yourself a hit of positive emotions and build your emotional reserves. Gratitude is known as an elevating emotion.  Small, and big things, to be grateful for are easy to pass by unnoticed if we don’t make an effort to consciously recognise them. By reminding ourselves to stop and take notice of things for which we’re grateful, we experience positive emotions and create positive habits so we will notice these things more often. This is a great time of year to be grateful for the delicious salad someone brought over for lunch, the way the children in your family remember to say thank you, or someone offering to get up and refill your glass. These are small things that could easily get lost in a big and busy day, yet they’re powerful for gratitude and our wellbeing and help us thrive.

  1. Random Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness, ranging from making a donation to a charity, to offering to help a stranger with their shopping is a great way for you to create positive emotions for yourself and someone else! For more ideas, read our blog about the LG team’s Random Acts of Kindness.                                         

  1. Create a ‘Ta-Da’ List!

With so much to do, many of us will either physically or mentally write ourselves to-do lists. To-do lists can be a good way to stop yourself from getting overwhelmed by feeling more organised. A ‘Ta-Da’ list will take you one step further toward thriving. A ‘Ta-Da’ list is a list of the positive and energising things that are good for your wellbeing. These could be celebrating big and small things, taking time for yourself, savouring things, feeling and expressing gratitude, and performing a random act of kindness… just to name a few!  Research, and common sense, tells us that those who prioritise positivity in their lives have higher levels of wellbeing, yet when we get busy it is often these things that get lost.  So, take some time to create a ‘Ta Da’ List and try to tick at least five things off every day!  Just don’t make it too easy!

We hope this ‘Thrival Guide’ will support you to head into this festive season with a positive mind–set and thrive this festive season! 

To learn more ways to apply positive psychology in your life, download your free eBook: 7 Ways to Apply Positive Psychology.