How to Shift from Guilt to Gratitude Over the Holidays

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By Evelyn Huynh

Have you ever felt like you have a love/hate relationship with the last couple of months of the year?

Although you know this time of year is filled with exciting festivities, spending quality time with family and friends…it can also a bittersweet time as you approach Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.

This time of year can be filled with love and joy, but also with holiday guilt.

 Guilt from…

  • Treats
  • Over-eating
  • Feeling guilty saying “NO” to food you typically would not eat but you eat it anyway
  • Not exercising “enough” or at all
  • Not doing “more” in terms of fitness and health

Alongside, this time of year also means season and weather change for those living in colder climates.

 You may be experiencing:

  • Moodiness + loss of energy
  • Feeling depressed, hopelessness, worthlessness etc.
  • Oversleeping
  • Changes in weight and appetite (cravings)

 So why does this happen?

Well, in the fall and winter months, a majority of us wake up and are off to work before the sun comes up and the sun is usually gone by the time we get off work. This reduced access to sunlight actually causes a drop in your serotonin level, which is the brain chemical/neurotransmitter that affects your mood.

This is also known as seasonal depression/winter blues/seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D), and with November being National Gratitude Month, I wanted to give you some tips that can help you power through the winter holidays with more gratitude than guilt!

Light therapy

By exposing yourself to lamps or lights that are similar to natural lights, this can help trigger the chemicals in your brain to regulate your mood.

Go outdoors

Even if it is just for 5 minutes a day, aim to go outside so you can be exposed to sunlight! It doesn’t have to be long, just 3-5 deep breaths can benefit you significantly. Focus on breathing IN through your nose and OUT through your mouth!


Strength training and exercising greatly affects mood and energy levels. In places where it can get pretty cold during this time of year, the last thing anyone wants to do is to get out of their warm car, into the cold, and into a gym to sweat it out. Trust me, I get it, it does not sound appealing at all. But it will make all of the difference and you will be glad that you DID it. 

You can use these tips to help you improve your energy levels this season so that you can truly enjoy the holidays.

Evelyn Huynh is a Wellness Entrepreneur. Follow her on Instagram at @evolvewithevelyn.

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The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.