Five Ways to Put Happy Back Into the Holidays

Avoid the holiday blues with these real-life tips!
By Laura St John, Celebrity Mindset Coach, Strong Confident Living

Holidays are a time of joy, but for many it can be a time of loneliness, heartache or sadness. Sometimes the things that are supposed to bring us happiness shine the light on what we are missing the most. Here are some common barriers to happiness during the holidays, and what you can do to get unstuck!

Photo: Erin McKenna

(1) Your past pain is weighing you down.
It’s normal during the holidays to reminisce about old times. But what if those old times come with events that bring up pain during this time of year? Whether that is the loss of a loved one or a significant shake up of trust or love that you’ve endured, having it recur every year with the same smells, songs, and tastes can trigger anything other than happiness. This is an indication you’ve got to make your holiday vision bigger and brighter than the pain of your past. I’m not suggesting you run or hide or ignore it, I’m saying that you’ve got to learn the steps to accept yourself right now and trust that all the stepping stones got you here. If you want to feel better about yourself and the holidays, you need to tie the same songs, smells and tastes of the holiday season to new memories, even if they haven’t happened yet! You can use your imagination to create the most ideal holiday vision, full of love, joy and support from people who love and accept you. Then you can take actions to release the old and step into the new. Just because you’ve experienced hardship around the holidays does not mean that it has to be a life sentence of hardship. You can change it and it starts with shifting your mindset. Make the things you want more clear than the things you don’t want — and get after it!

(2) You are critical of not reaching your goals.
A really common theme at the end of each year for perfectionists or go-getters is the feeling of “did I measure up” when it comes to self-assessing yourself. This shines the light on “am I enough” and therefore “did I do enough” which come from feelings of lack that you are quantifying through looking at external measurements to prove whether you met or fell short on your goals. This can block a lot of happiness around the holidays because you are not letting in feelings of joy until you meet some number on the scale, or some amount of money in your bank account. When you don’t allow yourself to feel happiness in the process, you will end up every December feeling badly about yourself which lines you up for a terrible start for January, where you want to clean slate everything but you are still starting from a negative place to avoid more of what you don’t want. That vicious cycle sets you right back up for failure in 2023. To get out of it, I teach people how to think bigger, measure success in a variety of new ways, allow in more happiness, and flip their failures into their greatest success stories. I created an entire roadmap to do this. I’m known for the “flip it” approach to flip negatives to positives.

(3) You have lost the feeling of what happiness actually is.
In the craziness of our modern world, we’ve lost sight of what happiness means to us. The holidays can exacerbate problems we are having in relationships, with lost connection to family members and friends, and with a lack of connection to ourselves. First I remind people that happiness is actually inside you right now. It’s just being blocked. Once you learn the steps to identify what is blocking it – whether that’s internal or external blocks – you can take the actions to shrink those blocks and unstuck your own joy. Happiness is not the eeeee! excitement of the holidays. Excitement is a positive flare up that comes and goes. True happiness is a calm, neutral feeling of ease and love, being expressed like a never ending flow to you and from you. It’s a gentle smile moment that comes the moment you decide to be happy and you remember what makes you feel happy. I teach people how to make a holiday ‘happy list’ full of all the things that can put a gentle smile on your face. Then I teach people how to “snack on happy” throughout the day so you intentionally get happy on purpose by nourishing your happiness with little things you can notice around you. It takes 2 seconds to snack on happy. For example, if you’re stuck in holiday traffic, notice the blue sky, or people in the car next to you jamming to music. If you’re stuck in line at the store, notice a stranger being kind to another stranger. Smile to yourself and say, this is happiness. Notice the feeling. The more you acknowledge and celebrate yourself for noticing your own happiness, the more you will show up as a happier self in all your external relationships during the holidays. You can be the change that elevates others around you, especially relationships you care about the most.

(4) You’re using technology to isolate vs connect.
A common barrier to happiness is the misuse of technology. Technology can isolate and block happiness. Instead of looking down at your phone while you’re in line, take a photo of yourself and send it to someone you love and let them know you’re thinking of them. Instead of posting a complaint about how you’re stuck in line, post a note saying that you can’t wait to give these gifts to your loved ones! Stop scrolling! Technology is a wonderful tool for immediate connection, and happiness is meant to be shared with others. Technology has that kind of impact to magnify what’s negative or magnify what’s positive. Share more positive moments throughout the holiday season of all the things you can capture that are fun. You don’t have to take a break from technology, which can close you off from grandparents or people who love seeing you post photos of your family moments. You need to redefine a new relationship with how you use it, so it’s creating vs blocking holiday happiness.

Photo: Sabri Tuzcu

(5) You dread shopping and everything that comes along with it.
The lines, the expense, the traffic. If everything about holiday shopping is making you feel negative, here’s how to flip it: Imagine the positive end result—and I don’t mean being done with shopping. I mean imagine the feeling you want to invoke from the gift. For example, the happy look of joy on the person’s face when they see you picked out their favorite color sweater because you actually care enough to know their favorite color. Or the laughter from getting a gift that’s funny. Put yourself in the energy of the shared feeling you want them to feel and be happy that YOU helped facilitate that! Ask yourself: What outcome deserves my attention? And then see if you’re focusing on what you don’t want or what you do want. Happiness is magnified when shared. So imagine all the positive moments you will create from the experience, and pour your focus into the end results!

See Also

Laura St John

For more tips on how to put happy back into any aspect of your life, sign up for Laura’s advanced mindset coaching offered in her monthly online workshops + Live Q&A sessions. Visit

*Featured Photo: Ben White

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