Oh, the holidays….full of family, friends, fun and yes, the other f-word: food! While this time of year is a joyful culmination of all these things, it can also be overwhelming, so it’s important pace yourself and make sure you’re not overdoing it. From the grocery and gift shopping to the social engagements, we have a tendency to run ourselves ragged during these last two months of the year. Here are a few tips on how to stay sane this holiday, and stay focused on fun.
1. Personal Pep Talk
Start the holiday season with a nice little pep talk. Tell yourself that you are not going to let this season stress you out, but that you will take it by the reigns and control everything at your own pace. Self-motivation is one of the best methods to making sure you are maintaining your own personal sanity. You might even try a little meditation – if it’s not something you do often, you’d be surprised at how effective this is in managing stress levels and calming down all of your inner thoughts.
2. Manage Expectations
This is the time of year when we all try to tap into our inner Wonder Woman. But let’s face it, as much as we all want to hop into our red, white and blue one-piece, we need to manage expectations. Not only our own, but the expectations of others around us as well. You can’t go to five parties in one night, you can’t buy EVERYONE’s child a gift and you can’t spend time with each and every family member and friend this holiday. So alleviate the stress and feeling the burden of trying to meet everyone’s expectations and lay it out ahead of time. Tell your family exactly where you’re going to be this year, discuss gifts in advance (Secret Santa, gift exchange, etc.) and most importantly make sure you’re doing what YOU want to do – not what others want you to do!
3. It’s Still About YOU
The hustle and bustle of prepping for the holidays can be very stressful. It’s important to take a moment to yourself to just chill. Whether it’s getting a few chapters in of that book you’ve been trying to read for months, or taking a nice spa day to get a massage, it’s vital to your own sanity that you’re taking this “me time” out during the holidays. Be careful not to get consumed in everyone else’s holiday drama.
4. Move Around
Though it may be the last thing you want to think about, it’s important that you get your exercise in this holiday. Staying active, believe it or not, will help cut down on stress levels and make you a happier person. Don’t underestimate the things you’re already doing on a regular basis, as they are likely great forms of exercise. From bouncing around with your children to taking the dog for a run, there are tons of fun ways to exercise that don’t involve the treadmill.
5. Release Your Social Butterfly
While you’re running around to all of the different holiday parties this season, remember to actually socialize. Our minds are usually running a mile a minute, so it’s important that you take the time to actually enjoy the party, the people and the atmosphere. Don’t let your thoughts about what you’re wearing to the next one, or what gift you’re going to buy your BFF consume you. Just drop all of that and tap into the present – enjoy the people around you and focus on the social aspects of the party.
6. Portion Control
While you’re busy hitting up all of those holiday parties this year, make sure you’re not making plates with heaping portions for yourself at each event. Try to eat sensibly! Whether you know it or not, the calories add up - and quickly! Try to keep your portions manageable and of course, it’s okay splurge every now and then. So if you love sweet potatoes/yams, go ahead and get an extra serving, just be careful not to overdo it. Believe me, you’ll regret it in January when you’re making your News Year’s resolution to lose that pesky holiday weight.
7. Shop Online
For many of us, the last place we want to end up is in the crowded mall or grocery store this season. But alas we all know, it has to be done...or does it? In 2012 you can do just about any and everything online – and I mean anything. Avoid the madness that ensues during the weeks leading up to the holidays by simply clicking your way through those grocery and gift lists this season. Amazon.com has just about any and everything you need and most major grocery store chains have online shopping options available for either delivery or pick-up from your local grocer. Very handy tip to give yourself a lot of extra time this year for other, more important things!
8. Stay Hydrated
While this may seem like a very logical tip, it is often overlooked and causes overeating. How, you ask? Well, surprisingly enough, thirst can be mistaken for hunger which increases the likelihood of snacking, eating more than you need to and even binging at parties with a plate that’s twice the calories you need in a day. So drink up! Try to travel with a water bottle or some sort of refillable thermos so you’re keeping your body hydrated and not “starved.”
9. Avoid Depression
While this may be one of the “jolliest” times of the year, for some it can also be one of the roughest. From money problems to a lack of family and friends, it is important to keep current challenges in perspective and stay positive and upbeat. If you have a friend that may be away from home, invite them to join your family for dinner – you have no idea how welcome it makes other feel. You could be saving someone’s holiday with a simple invitation. A great way to avoid slipping into a depression about money is to do it yourself! Creating gifts that you have made yourself is probably one of the most personal and heartfelt gifts you can give someone. Head to your local arts and crafts store and get busy!
10. Enjoy Yourself
Don’t forget what all of this is for – to be merry! So at the end of the day, just kick back and enjoy yourself. If you’re around the people you love, that is all that matters. Take the time to catch up with friends and family, talk about fun things you want to do next year, trips you want to take - even make some fun plans. Whatever you do, just let it all go and for once in your life (or at least once a year), just enjoy the moment!
These tips should guide you into the holidays with ease – good luck!
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