Some people choose to spend the holiday season with family even if that means spending hard earned vacation days traveling to and from a remote part of the country. To others, home is a primary address around which they have built their life. Though your perspective may have changed, expectations tend to be heightened at this time of year. Regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself, holiday cheer often relies on maintaining a sense of connection.
If you're on your own this season because of work, weather, distance or the drama of family gatherings, here's what you can do to stay connected:
1. Don't Neglect Tradition: Failure to keep old rituals alive is what keeps many individuals feeling disconnected at holiday time. If you are one of many who keeps putting traditions on hold until you meet "the one" and have a family, you are doing yourself a disservice. Think about how you spent the holidays growing up. Perhaps it was a movie marathon on Christmas Eve or new pajamas for everyone the morning after. Then make a list of your favorite holiday traditions and try recreating them on your own turf and terms; doing so will remind you where you came from and reinforce your feelings of belonging.
2. Be Sure to Build Customs of Your Own: If you are ready to cut the umbilical cord, then it's time to create traditions of your own. Consider activities that make you feel close to yourself, the people around you and the community at large and build them into your holiday agenda. If you love to cook, perhaps holiday brunch at your home becomes the place to be from this year forward. Whatever you choose to do, by carving out new traditions you are assigning your own meaning to the holidays which will make it feel more right to you.
3. Share Moments Virtually: These days there is more than one way to "reach out and touch someone," so don't sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Respond to the deluge of season's greetings cards by sending out a funny card or email to catch people up on your life or sign on to Skype and video conference nieces and nephews as they open up their gifts from you. The holidays are a time to reconnect with loved ones, so take advantage of the technology that's right in front of you even if that means some time on Facebook.
4. Give in to Nostalgic Moments: Good memories are a source of comfort if you take the time to reflect. Digging into the past can help you feel connected to those who have passed, moved on or are far away for this year's holidays, which is why time spent savoring old letters, photos and souvenirs can be uplifting. Allowing yourself this guilty pleasure will free your mind to escape to a happy place.
5. Appeal to the Senses: Scents evoke memories, sounds move the spirits, tasting gives pleasure and touch makes us feel alive. Consider preparing fresh baked cookies, savoring a food that's rich and festive, downloading holiday music or indulging in a deep tissue massage. These are a few of the things you can do to charm your senses into an elevated state this season.