The holidays can be emotionally stressful as time, budgets, and patience are stretched to their limits. However, with some planning, perspective, and an increased consciousness about the true spirit of the season, we can create an abundance of happy moments and memories that will give Hallmark a run for its money!
Going into the holidays with an accurate perspective on what’s in store for you will decrease your frustration and stress. Make a list of your goals: sensible gift giving, holiday cooking and baking, house cleaning, party planning, etc. Tackling your holiday chores one by one will make you feel less overwhelmed and certainly make seasonal preparations more enjoyable. Knowing your financial, physical and scheduling limitations will allow you to set realistic goals that will make you feel satisfied when you complete them (rather than overworked and overemotional as you try to live up to your unrealistic agenda).
Take Time to Detox
Everyone needs a little down time to rejuvenate, and with the holidays draining you quicker with all those seasonal expectations, it’s important to take a little time for yourself. Even with a hectic schedule, you will need to pencil in your refueling time. Whether it’s curling up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa, getting a massage, or meditating and practicing yoga, setting your mind and spirit to rights again will release those building tensions and allow you to accomplish more because you have recharged your emotional batteries.
Keep Within a Budget
Shopping for others can be a rewarding pastime, but those feelings of goodness through gift-giving can easily turn into stress and worry as you deplete your bank account (or worse, rack up credit card charges). By creating a financial budget for yourself, you then have the freedom to make purchases for each person within that specified amount, without the fear of overspending.
Put Differences Aside
Family time offers you the opportunity to be with your loved ones, the people in your life that have known and loved you the longest. It can be a time of catching up, and offers most people a sense of belonging. The less shiny side of that coin can be personality differences that can tarnish your holiday happiness with misunderstandings and arguments. Keeping things in perspective this year, and accepting one another’s differences even if you disagree, will allow you to connect and enjoy the moment: a special time of year with the family you love.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
With the time crunch of the approaching holidays, it is easy to let healthy habits fall to the wayside. Perhaps, then, this is the most important time to keep those routines in place as best you can. Continuing with your exercise regime, and eating at least one healthy meal a day will keep you more balanced, physically and emotionally. It is well known that exercise keeps the endorphins high in your body and gives a natural sense of well-being. Eating right supplies you with the energy you need to accomplish all your tasks and keeps chemical levels (such as serotonin) in balance. This is not to say that you cannot enjoy your holiday sweets and treats! Just keep in mind that most seasonal food tends to be high in fat and sugar, which ultimately cause lethargic and potentially depressive feelings with their energy inhibitors and sugar crashes. So, go ahead, eat those yummy holiday delights— just make sure you balance your diet with nutritious foods that your body needs.
Focus on Holiday Cheer
While the stress of shopping and cooking for others can wear on you, keeping in mind that you are doing these things for others is a great way to stay in high holiday spirits. The holidays are a time for appreciating family and friends, and for thinking of and giving to others. When your goal is to put a smile on someone’s face, that is time well spent indeed. Holiday volunteering at places like children’s hospitals, low-income family centers, and nursing homes, can be another way to keep your head and heart in lively spirits. Giving to others in times of need reaps wonderful spiritual benefits and gives you the perspective to appreciate what you do have. The “demands” don’t seem as great when you acknowledge how fortunate you are to have so many special people in your life to spend your money, time and energy on.