The Holiday season is here and I know that some of us… okay all of us… are STRESSED! I know many of my friends have constant emotional/mental breakdowns during this time of year, myself included. Us pre-health students know that PRE-HEALTH ain’t no joke… and even if you aren’t pre-health, college is f***ing hard. And those who have stressful Christmas shopping, dark-weather depression, and all of that shnazz.
It isn’t too much of a secret that I suffer from anxiety and I know that it can be especially difficult to deal with these emotional/mental battles ESPECIALLY during the winter season.. However, I am still a life-optimist when these things happen, and I know some handy tricks that will make you feel better about yourself and about stress season.
We all know that the holiday season is all about GIVING, and since I am such an enormous fan of lists (yes, here is another one!), I am going to provide a list of things that YOU can do to spread positivity and happiness for others this season. I also know for a fact that when I am kind towards other people, I often feel intrinsically happier myself. This is not just about giving to other people, this is also about giving to yourself the happiness that you deserve…
- Hold the door for someone. Today, a friend of mine held the door for me every single time even if it would have been easier for him to go through first. It’s a small gesture but it really does go a long way and I am sooooo grateful every single time.
- Call/Text a friend and remind them that you care about them. Another friend was genuinely worried when I admitted to him how stressed I was studying for finals. Those things do not go unnoticed to real friends. True friends will be grateful to have someone so caring in their life.
- Write a letter to someone you are so truly grateful to have in your life. It takes such little time to do, but it’ll truly make that special friend feel so important
- Pay someone a visit who may be a distance away. Carmina lives 200 miles and 3.5-4 hours away at Penn State. It was probably the farthest that I had ever driven but I would not have wanted to spend my weekend any other way than to spend her birthday with her. And I know I made her extremely happy because she thanked me all night for coming when she was drunk (sorry for exposing u carm, but ily)!
- Volunteer at/donate to a homeless shelter. THIS is such a rewarding thing to do especially during the holiday season. You don’t really understand homeless life when living in the suburbs of Maryland. However, cities like DC have large homeless communities that heavily rely on donations and volunteers to provide them with warm clothing, food, and places to stay. Here’s a link to one place I’ve been to that really opened my eyes: http://some.org/volunteer/
- Spend time with your grandparents. This may seem like a “duh” thing to do, but I know many of us often find ourselves too busy with our face in our books, our dinner time out with our friends, and our leftover spare time spent with our significant other. We must not forget that as we are busy growing up, our grandparents are also growing older. One of my grandmothers passed away over the summer and I find myself wishing I could still spend time with her even if it meant just sitting in front of a TV and watching her favorite Cambodian-dubbed Chinese movies. Quality time cannot be replaced. It is invaluable. Don’t forget to spend it with family members who will appreciate it the most when you spend time. I am very guilty of this.
- Pay attention to your gifts, make someone feel like you know them. Every year, my brother has bought me things I loved. High-end make up from Sephora. Sweaters from Under Armour. He even buys me gifts from when he travels abroad. And what do i give him every year? CRAPPY gifts and I am so apologetic for not putting enough thought into one of the most important people in my life. I know he loves me because of the thought he puts into small things like this, but how have I shown him I love him? Not sure… so I can’t wait to get him something he’ll love this year. He’ll be like “FINALLY!!!” BUT YEAH… GET YOUR LOVED ONES SOMETHING THAT SHOWS YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR INTERESTS
- Ask someone about something that they talked to you about before. So this is kind of a dip into my deep interest in human socialization and interaction with one another. We often find ourselves SO wrapped up in our own lives that when we CONVERSE with others, we’re so focused on what we’re about to say next. We don’t really listen. We often forget people’s names 30 seconds after they’ve introduced themselves to us, because we’re waiting for them to finish so that we can say our own name (guilty!). Something that makes a huge impression on me is when I tell someone something about my day or my life, they make the effort to revisit that topic in a future conversation. It means that they really listen and actually cared to know more. I guarantee you when you ask someone “How did your exam go?” or “Are you feeling better today?” they will feel so good even if they don’t realize it.
I am a huge believer in karma and the Law of Attraction. I believe that the energy you put out in the world is what you will attract. I believe that being a good person will carry you a long way mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Be good to others for you will eventually find it comes back around. I hope these tips will help you make someone else’s holiday season amazing, and therefore making your own holiday season amazing.