For many, the holidays are a time of celebration and fond memories. For others, the absence of friends and family, the hustle and bustle, or painful memories from years past can create a holiday season of worry, grief, and anxiety.

Even in our moments of joy we might find pockets of melancholy. So how can we best balance the yin and yang of the holiday season?

One solution is to find positive small ways to nudge us towards things that are more joyful than painful—more productive than destructive. Although the holidays can bring us moments of introspection, they can also bring us great moments of joy as we appreciate what we already have, create new memories with others, and embrace the moment as it comes.

If you happen to find yourself in a festivity funk this season, here are simple tips to help you stay ahead of the holiday blues:

For Your Head

1) Make a list of 20 things you appreciate.

2) Write an entry in your journal (or start a journal).

3) Read a new book or watch an old movie.

4) Do that one thing you’ve been avoiding.

5) Decide to take a day off from worry.

For Your Body

1) Move a little more.

2) Eat a little less.

3) Get a massage.

4) Try some silent meditation.

5) Wear your favorite clothes.

For Your Heart

1) Tell someone that you love them.

2) Stop beating yourself up.

3) Offer help to someone.

4) Call an old friend for no reason.

5) Give a friend or family member your full attention.

For Your Spirit

1) Smile at a stranger.

2) Hold the door for someone.

3) Listen to holiday music.

4) Ask for forgiveness.

5) Go out for a drive and enjoy the holiday decorations.

Regardless of where we are, what we are doing, or whom we are with this holiday season, we can remember that we always have control over our thoughts and actions. And when we are conscious and paying attention to what we are focusing on, we can affect our sense of balance and well-being.

Happy Holidays!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg helps people find better balance and happiness in their work, relationships, and life—especially during transitions. Find out more at


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