For most, the Holidays are associated with hope and optimism, yet statistically, it is the most stressful time of the year. With shopping, deadlines, crowds, endless to-do lists and high expectations, there is often little time to enjoy yourself in the spirit of the holidays. Is it possible to thrive this year, not just survive, and create a wonderful holiday season for yourself and your loved ones? YES! Just follow these 10 easy tips:
1. Relax! Everything will be “Perfect Enough.” If you’re a perfectionist about the gifts, décor, and food, how can you really enjoy the season? Learn to prioritize and delegate. The Holidays will still be beautiful and memorable, even if you don’t do it all by yourself.
2. Create a budget AND STICK TO IT! Fretting over finances can put a damper on your Holiday cheer. List everything that may cost money this holiday season, then do a reality check. If it’s outside your budget, rethink your list. Remember, if you’re putting it on credit, you can’t afford it.
3. Holiday gatherings are not the time for family problem solving. Keep Peace on Earth, or at least at your family gathering, by avoiding contentious discussions. Talk about important issues before you gather, or wait until after the holidays.
4. Avoid Overindulging. That fourth or fifth sugar cookie or extra glass of eggnog won’t lift your spirits if you are stressed or depressed. If you catch yourself drinking or eating to relieve anxiety or loneliness, take a step back and think about the source of your feelings. Facing your emotions in a healthy way can keep you from overeating.
5. Give yourself a break. Pause between the endless tasks and holiday crowds to take a few deep, slow breaths, allowing your body to unwind and your mind to clear. Transcend tension while driving by taking a few deep breaths, making sure to exhale completely.
6. Treat yourself! Give yourself something that makes you really happy this holiday season, and give it early! By “filling your tank,” you will have more of yourself to offer as the holiday season takes over.
7. Just say NO. Keep your commitments manageable. Avoid stress from holiday overload by saying “no” or canceling things from your calendar.
8. Avoid people who ruin the Holiday. Set some very specific rules for habitual party-poopers – no heavy drinking or politics, for starters – and be direct, because rude people don’t pick up on subtle cues. Or simply uninvite them.
9. Exercise the blues away. Exercise and recreation help release endorphins, improving your emotions.
10. Remember what the Holidays mean to YOU. Are they about traditions? Spending time with family? Having fun? Whatever you decide, hold on to those wonderful memories and use them to build your roadmaps of success for the New Year.