Nowadays, life isn’t as simple as it used to be. Each day, we are required to function with a certain level of enthusiasm and energy to meet or surpass life’s challenges, which can sometimes effect our mental and physical wellbeing. From one perspective, advancements in technology have made our lives considerably less demanding, but on the other hand, technology also creates a cycle of entrapping our brains in a concealed servitude, which we occasionally need to step away from. The holiday season is the perfect time to rejuvenate and energize our lives by getting disconnected and focusing on other things in our lives.
No matter your age, thinking about the holiday season is exciting. You may choose to spend the holidays at an exotic resort or aboard a cruise ship around the world. But sometimes, a simpler option may be a way to give yourself a break from the complexities of life. Below are some simple yet wonderful activities which I myself intend to do this holiday season, to find peace and serenity as we close out 2016:

1. Revisit places where you have made memories

According to research, recalling positive memories reverses stress-induced depression. This has proven an effective practice among many professionals who struggle to achieve life goals and objectives. A good way to relive good memories is to visit places associated with positive experiences. This may include places such as where you spent your childhood, where you spent your college years, or even the office where you got your first job. The list goes on; any place that holds positive memories is worth exploring again this holiday season.

2. Send presents and thank you notes: a way to end or start the New Year

Our achievements are only possible because of the support and help of our friends, family, and people we work with. This is the best time of year to express our gratitude by sending presents or thank you notes to those we care about and wish to acknowledge. Recognizing positive relationships can harness positive energy and motivation, which can have a rippling effect.

3. Plan a get together with friends and family members

Spending time with those we care about is a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season. Invite family members and friends to a simple dinner or tea gathering. The act of gathering around the table helps maintain connections and increase emotional bonding, which studies have found are crucial in sustaining happiness and a sense of belonging. These positive, good will gatherings will echo into the New Year.

4. A noble act goes a long way

We are living in perilous times where we may feel threatened by environmental issues, income inequality, and uncertain worldwide political strife. While we hope some of our worst fears do not come to pass, none of us can know what will happen as humanitarian worries are on the rise. Something that can be helpful in times of worry, is to feel as though we are not sitting idly by. The holiday season is a perfect time to reassess our priorities and choose an act of nobility regardless of how small or large it might seem. As the saying goes, “If you cannot do great thing, do small things in a great way.” Below are some ideas for noble acts this holiday season.

A. Appreciate and protect our environment

A breath of fresh air can make all the difference – it may result in taking a small pause or break within your professional life that puts events into perspective. Allow nature to act as your personal therapist. The solitude of trees & mountains, the calmness of the sea, and the ambiance that lies within nature gives comfort to combat stress. This small pause might inspire you to play a role in preserving nature, simplifying life to reduce carbon footprints, and allow for a decrease in environmental pollution, which is being fueled by human interference.

B. Combat income inequality & give to charity

The ongoing struggle of income inequality is the great economic issue of our time. Giving to others not only has a great impact on those less fortunate, but it also increases happiness for the giver. Donating to charity can be big or small. Giving what we can, when we can, has the power to make a big difference. This holiday season, find a family in poverty that needs help, or donate to organizations dedicated to this cause.

C. Promote justice and peace

There are many social, political, and economic conflicts on the rise. While these conflicts lead to restlessness among those most affected, we can all have the power to be a helpful voice. By promoting justice and equality for all, we can find inner peace and help contribute to the idea of a peaceful world. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it well, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice”.

5. Set goals for a simplified New Year

Having clear goals creates a determined and peaceful mind ready for productive ideas, increased clarity, and vision. At the end of the holiday season, allow your positive energy to realize your New Year’s plans and focus on simple, achievable milestones. By allowing goals to be translated into achievable milestones, you will be able to remain focused throughout the year. Time away from work during the holidays is a perfect time to enhance your perspective for the coming year and to reflect on what progress you have already made.

Please share your experiences and tips for planning the ideal holiday season.