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Finding balance in the New Year

 Tour Operators Society of Kenya (TOSK) in support of the Namelok Girls Secondary School. (Jayne Rose Gacheri, The Standard)

The holidays are all about celebrating the values that bring us together in life, such as our friends and family. These important connections can bring us unity through togetherness, generosity, and gratitude. 

Many people celebrate the festival by having a big meal with their family and giving presents to each other.

Studies show that when we practice gratitude regularly, we become happier by increasing our mental health, through enhancing positive emotion, boosting our self-esteem, and pushing away negativity. 

It is important, however, that we take the lessons of this season along with us. The spirit of sharing and connecting should not only be a holiday preserve.

Stay organized to complete your tasks, manage your stress by taking breaks and doing things you enjoy, and spend time with loved ones to make your holiday season the best it can be - through gratitude.

Connect with family, friends, colleagues: The importance of such connections is that they give time and space to interact with others, other than being by yourself, especially if you are an anti-social type of person. Whether you are connecting with one person, your small family, a large gathering, or just a few close friends, connecting with those you love is the most important thing during the festive season. The time spent with them is worthwhile and this improves your relationship with them. 

Speak gratitude: While you are with your connections, take time to thank them, appreciating them for their presence in your life. Show gratitude, gratefulness, and showing recognition of their contribution to making your life better. This, experts say, improves your relationship with them. 

Have a positive mindset. Challenge yourself to find a positive side in every situation. Once you focus on looking at every situation positively, then it might help you to “cool” down temperatures and explosive situations. Keep in mind that the holidays are about gratitude and happiness. 

Remember to give back. You can volunteer your time around your community, collect donations from your friends and other donors, and deliver to those in need. You could also perform other acts of kindness by volunteering to offer some service such as cooking a meal among other things. 

But do not overdo things. Set limitations on the things you have set yourself to accomplish. Be kind to yourself and take a break when you can. 

Also set boundaries. You do not have to say yes every time. Create boundaries beforehand, and stick to them, by removing yourself from an environment or speaking up your mind when you have to. 

You are entitled to being happy and putting yourself first before others. Find a safe space or a person to go to, especially if you get to a point of processing your emotions. Give room and allow yourself to feel and heal if you are confronted by a stressful moment. . 

Most important of all, put yourself first in the priority slot. Pay attention to your body, and avoid pushing your limits, just because you seem to be the only one who can do a particular tusk.

If you notice symptoms of stress in your body, such as headaches, backache, stomach aches, anxiety, irritability, or withdrawal, hold on to your horses. 

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