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Whether you love or hate the holidays, it can be a stressful time where we have a lot of demands on our time and energy. You can have a healthy holiday season with these simple tips.
Have a Healthy Holiday Season – Avoiding These Pitfalls
Ahhh, the Holidays. They bring with them the joyous time of watching Hallmark movies, baking delicious cookies, and the delivery of snowy weather.
Unfortunately, they also usher in the extra pounds, jaw-dropping credit card use, and seasonal affective disorder. Something I hear frequently is so many are completely stressed from being spread so thin and out of their routine. Finding it hard to actually enjoy time with their friends and family.
Are these negative Holiday blues going to get to us? NO WAY! Are they unfair? Absolutely!
And listen, we don’t need to stand for them any longer. This year is going to be different. We are going to enjoy this time with friends and family, whether we gain a few extra pounds from eating traditional homemade cookies or not.
It is time to take back our joy. We are planning for a Healthy Holiday Season. No more emotional meltdowns, budget blowing shopping sprees, or the need to keep up with the Jones with their perfectly decorated outdoor Christmas lights.
Let’s explore some tips that will keep you from losing your sanity this Holiday season.
Avoiding These Holiday Pitfalls
Forget About Keeping Up To Be Perfect
Why do we often get caught up in aiming to have the most perfect Christmas? Making the prettiest and tastiest cookies for the work cookie exchange, taking our kids to all the things that make up Christmas; plays, lights in the park or Christmas get-togethers. Planning the outdoor lights to be the best in the neighborhood.
It is time to forget about being flawless.
Slowing down, spending time with family is all that matters. It is time to enjoy the ride as opposed to taking rides to the next activity or spending time being the best. I am not saying that you eliminate all of those fun activities, just remove a few. Pick and chose. Make those activities a family tradition.
Stop trying to keep up and just roll with the enjoyable season. Our time is valuable, don’t say “Yes” to every event. Say “Yes” to those that will keep you happy and your family time priority.
Don’t forget to take a few deep breaths, spend time with Jesus and call a close friend to help lift you up.
Shopping With A Purpose
Money is one of the major stressors leading up to the Christmas season and leading into the New Year. It is time to get real about your budget.
Keeping a Budget
Most of us are givers in nature. We love to shower our kids with gifts and it makes us happy to find the perfect gift for our friends and family. But doing so can hurt bank accounts and further stress us out about limiting our spending on weekly needs.
We often underestimate the total cost of gift-giving. It is important to handwrite out a budget and keep a list of gift purchases. Doing it mentally is not an option. It will not keep you accountable. With the growing age of technology, you can also keep that budget and notes on your phone. I have compiled a great list of budgeting apps that will help you as well.
Skip The Gifts
It is okay to skip the gifts. Many are now turning to memorable experiences rather than gifts. A family unplugged from the web, spending time together exploring a new adventure can be more meaningful and often doesn’t have to cost much. You can search for sites like Groupon or Living Social for deals.
Over the years, our family has made the decision that when we get together with family, we are only giving presents to the children and not our siblings. We still purchase for our parents, but we have all agreed that not giving to our siblings makes us all happier about our budgets. We enjoy each other’s time as oppose to the stress of finding each other special gifts.
Stop Making So Many Choices
Have you ever thought about “how we can make our own busy”? We can easily get caught up in all the little things that may have to happen and turn them into “Must happen now” activities. When we choose to complete these activities, we are creating more stress.
YES, absolutely… Less is definitely, more. We need to reduce the strain we put on ourselves by eliminating the nonessentials projects.
How do we do this? Give yourself a schedule, make a to-do list and automate as much as you can.
How Routine Helps:
By sticking to a routine helps, it allows us to already know the majors of each day. Yes, Somedays will shift out of routine, it is inevitable. However, you will be a much better mentally prepared you to take on those days than someone who has way too much on their plate.
Start Using a To-Do-List for the Holiday Season
Lists can actually provide you with a sense of mental freedom. Dr. Carrie Barron, M.D., the Director of the Creativity for Resilience Program at Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas: States “A list helps you discern and progress with a clearer, lighter head..”
Once you start writing down those ideas or projects that need to happen you feel a sense of relief. Seeing what actually has to occur rather than a mentally thought out list releases your brain from the constant thoughts of those projects.
You may find that you can easily delegate a few of these list items to family members to get them accomplished quicker or to hire someone for the job. Either way, you will feel much lighter & better able to take on what is truly important creating a healthy holiday season.
One of my favorite calendar journals – It helps me maintain my goals and stay on point.
How Automation Works:
Choosing not to choose works. During the holidays, we seem to have more decisions that we need to make. Let’s create ways to reduce those decisions.
Think of things that you can easily automate each week or day. For example: serving the same breakfast every day. Yes, you can do this! Your family is getting fed and I am sure they will be okay with the exact meal every morning. You can even create a meal plan that is run a weekly cycle: Monday – Meatloaf, Tuesday – Tacos, Friday – Pizza, etc. Meal planning is a huge lifesaver.
Now there is no new way to reinvent the wheel every day. A Healthy Holiday season starts with less.
You can also think about wearing a different dress to work each day for the week. Dresses are just so simple and comfortable. And let’s face it, less can also go into making your wardrobe right with a dress. It is a put it on and go kind of outfit.