Find commercial holidays challenging? You’re not alone. Whether they trigger your anxiety, depression, PTSD or are just so cheesy they make you want to hurl, ignore what’s expected of you and start putting yourself first.
Put yourself first
This isn’t always as easy as it sounds but know that if, for whatever reason, any time of year is bringing you down that it’s normal. It’s your normal and that’s more than OK, but not for a business that wants your money. It’s time to accept how you feel and genuinely be OK with it.
Censor those commercials, you don’t need them
Their only goal is to get you to part with your cash and often use manipulative emotional advertising. It’s designed to exploit feelings of guilt or inadequacy if you don’t comply. This can include soppy sentiments, cliché portrayals of relationships and contrived family bonds. It’s supposed to make you feel down if your life doesn’t align with their phoney portrayals.
Steer clear of corn
If the above can trigger you, try to avoid any holiday-themed movies or TV shows that may also try to ram this unrealistic narrative down your throat. This includes the news and any topical shows. It’s probably best you don’t look at your social media news feeds around your trigger date either.
Just don’t look
Watch media streaming sites ad-free or hit the skip or mute button ASAP when ads appear elsewhere. If your favourite shows are televised and adverts are inevitable, press mute or go grab a drink, a snack, give your pet some lovin’ or do anything else that’s a better use of your time.
Your mute button is your best friend when ads come on the telly, radio or while you’re streaming music. Even if they don’t trigger you, they get pretty annoying.
Keep not looking
If you’ve identified holiday advertising as a trigger, don’t bother reading marketing emails as they’ll usually contain some irritating rambling or sappy stock photos.
Opt out of online ads
Minimise your chances of being bombarded with holiday advertising by managing your browser’s ad settings here.
Don’t go to any events that you really don’t want to
Bowing to social pressure isn’t worth potentially setting yourself back. When you’re ready to face these situations head-on then do so, but not before you’re ready. Excuses can be positive in this case. If you feel comfortable enough to be honest with someone about why you can’t attend, they’ll be supportive if they’re worth having in your life.
Do something that makes you feel something
Shake up your routine by adding experiences to the mix as often as possible. Not only will this distract you, it will encourage your brain to release a healthy dose of feel-good endorphins. A study from San Francisco State University concluded that experiences make us happier than possessions. Depending on what floats your boat, these could include:
- Going to a theme park
- Joining a gym
- A much-needed vacation
- Cooking or baking (stress relief with delicious results!)
- Feeding the ducks (oddly satisfying)
- Fawning over animals at your local pet shop (if you’d to keep one please adopt from a shelter)
- If you live in the UK and collect Tesco Clubcard points, treat yourself
- Groupon is also a fantastic way to immerse yourself in a new experience or hobby
If this seems too daunting or lack of motivation is an issue, try your best to move your body in a way that contradicts your mind. When we master the technique to physically do things that we mentally may not want to (exams, first dates, job interviews, etc.), the rewards can be amazing and take us places we never thought possible.
Don’t ever compare yourself to others or judge yourself by their standards
Have your own. Many put on a front to appease others but a lot of their friends and family are probably doing the same thing. They may only get caught up because we’ve all been conditioned to adhere for commercial purposes from an early age.
Remember, any time of year can be difficult for anyone. So, however you react to commercial seasons, stay true to yourself and do what’s right for you. Determination and perseverance is key and the gift you should give yourself, every holiday.
If you have any tips, advice or helpful resources, please add them in the comments below.