Stress Free Holidays!
The cooking, the shopping, the decorating, the parties and the gift giving can consume, overwhelm and exhaust you this time of year. So, how do we enjoy rather than stress out during this holiday season?
Here are the top 10 ideas for stress free holidays!
- Give experiences rather than gifts. Examples include: taking a family vacation, organizing a night out – dinner and play, movie or game night, adopting a pet, an annual pass to a theme park or sports venue, volunteer as a family at a soup kitchen or shelter, or a day at the spa to name a few. These experiences rather than traditional gift giving are what will be remembered for life.
- If you are traveling be prepared. Ensure your care is in excellent condition, arrive at the airport hours early and have someone drop you off to avoid parking hassles, pack smart with only the needed essentials, and be sure to have all arrangements and packing done early enough to avoid stressing out.
- Plan daily physical or mental health breaks. Exercise, meditate, relax, take a bath, listen to music, watch a movie, and anything else that gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of the season. Elevate your mood and energy by spending some time outdoors in the sun. Don’t let time be an excuse to avoid your exercise sessions. Sticking to your routine for exercise, and typical daily tasks is most important during the holidays.
- Shop online and have it gift wrapped as much as possible to avoid crowds at malls and hours spent wrapping presents. If you plan on shopping at malls, avoid sale days or shopping too close to the holiday and ask if the store offers free gift- wrapping. Check your mall’s Web site and download a map/directory and plan your route ahead of time with a list of all stores and gifts you need. If you choose to wrap your own presents, wrap each gift as you purchase it to avoid having so many presents to wrap all at once.
- Plan your holiday menu in advance, and shop early enough to give you plenty of time to prepare holiday meals and cookies. In addition, have a theme and ask each guest to bring a food or drink in line with the theme. For example, the theme might be some type of Christmas ball such as, meatballs, spinach balls, rice balls, cheese balls etc.
- Strive for enjoyment this season, not perfection. No one will remember if the house was perfectly clean, or the food was perfectly cooked. What they will remember was the enjoyment they had from sharing the holiday with you.
- Don’t overschedule, and learn to say no to the endless party invitations. Only commit to what you can manage.
- Instead of focusing on the negative thoughts that surround all that you need to do before the holidays, focus on the positive thoughts of being with loved ones and how precious that time is.
- Create a time line and a list to be organized and prepared. Prioritize and delegate tasks and hire caterers and professional cleaners if needed. Prune the to-do list and ask “what is the worst that can happen if I eliminate this from the list.” Be sure to focus on one task at a time to avoid burn out.
- Most importantly, fuel your body for the added chores and stress of the holidays by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and sleeping at least 7 hours each night to recharge your body, and keep you energized to accomplish the additional holiday tasks.
This time of year may be challenging; however, really express and feel your emotions to get the most positive and meaningful results this holiday season. Even though there is so much more to do this time of year, stay in the moment and enjoy each day, as the holidays always fly by each year. Remember to be grateful that you are here to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the season and keep those that are not close to your heart. Happy holidays, and wishing you health and happiness in the New Year!
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