The holiday season has begun, a happy time full of love, warmth, and magical memories. Right? For some people, the holidays are anything but peaceful. In fact, as we try to make the season merry and bright, it’s easy to run ourselves ragged, chasing that holiday magic. Add to this the seasonal depression suffered by many Americans, and you have a recipe for a season that’s absolutely taxing. So how will you cope? Choose from the following tips, to find the ones that make the most sense in managing your holidays.
- Don’t overbook yourself. It’s easy to do, with all the fun activities and social commitments available during the holiday season. Look at your options objectively, and know when to say no. Outsource things if you need to in order to keep your to-do list manageable. You don’t need to be a superhero, and you’ll enjoy the holidays much more if you slow your pace and only do the things that are important, and join the activities that offer the most value, whether in terms of meaning or fun.
- Keep a sense of humor. A good laugh can make you feel great and shift your point of view. Learn to see the funny side of things and keep time in your schedule for silliness and fun. Even when you’re busy, curling up on the couch with your kids to watch a funny holiday movie may be just what you need to renew your spirits and make it easier to get back on task.
- Focus on what you love. The most important things about this time of year are extremely subjective, and only you can decide what means the most to you. Learn to notice what’s going on around you, and keep your focus on the things you enjoy. Sometimes this means deciding not to multi-task, but taking the time to appreciate the moments as they happen, whether you’re baking cookies, wrapping gifts, or simply driving through a decorated neighborhood.
- Take care of your body. Your hectic holiday schedule may disrupt your normal routine, but be sure to work in some exercise anyway. Practice healthy eating habits, and get plenty of sleep—two mandates that can be tricky this time of year. If you allow yourself to become run down and puny, you will have a harder time enjoying the holiday.
- Nourish your spirit. If your faith is central to your holiday celebration, be mindful of that, and don’t let other things get in the way. Even if you do not have a faith tradition, take the time to meditate and center yourself, breathing in the things that calm and enrich you, and letting go of those things that drain your energy. Listen to music that uplifts you, and be sure to spend some time with nature each day, whether you’re taking a walk or simply taking a breath and really looking out the window at your surroundings.
- Lower your expectations. If you’re trying to make the holidays perfect, just stop. No one has a perfect holiday season, and that’s perfectly normal. Shoot for a happy time, full of fun and opportunities to make memories, and it will be perfect enough for those you love. And speaking of those you love, don’t expect perfection from them, either. Especially when families get together and people are tense from travel and holiday preparations, tensions can run high. Defuse them by operating in the spirit of the season, making a conscious decision to give and accept love, without worrying about whether people, events and things are living up to your expectations.
- Do something for someone else. It’s a great time of year to help others, because there are so many opportunities readily available! Shop for a needy child, volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen, bring blankets to a homeless shelter. By focusing on the needs of someone else for a while, you can not only help them, but also shift your perspective.
Once you strike a balance between working to make the holidays the way you want them, and just allowing them to be what they are, you’ll find that you’re much more relaxed. Minimizing your stress is important to your emotional well-being, and at our clinic, we strive to build our patients up and help to set them on the path to optimal wellness. For more information about how we can help you, visit the website or call for a free consultation.