Take a breather from the stress this year, and stop to fully enjoy the season. Why wait for New Year’s Day to become healthier and happier? Start your new year with a different holiday approach. Stress can evolve from overspending, social gatherings, events, decorating, baking, holiday cuisine, work deadlines, and shopping. What does your wellness wheel look like during the holidays, especially in the areas of financial stability, spiritual health, emotional contentment, and physical well-being? How do you deal with the extra demands?
You may feel bombarded by healthy holiday messages. This may surprise you, but we are not suggesting you change those holiday recipes into healthier versions! Simply relish those delicious foods mindfully and in moderation. Perhaps bake fewer items, or wait to bake until right before the holiday? Limit the amount of food you make for holiday meals to avoid throwing out leftovers. Start exercising now instead of waiting for the New Year. Exercise will dramatically reduce your stress! Schedule obligations around exercise sessions making it a priority. As an added bonus, you will get a jump start on New Year’s resolutions by having an exercise habit already in place.
Create a realistic budget to spend on gifts and stick to it. Try making gifts or cards, as long as that doesn’t stress you out more. Suggest to family and friends that you just enjoy getting together instead of exchanging gifts. Maybe white elephant gifts, or drawing names are the ticket to spending less while still satisfying gift exchange rules? Perhaps a group project like collecting food for a food shelf may bring more contentment to all involved? Go through your pantry and closets to collect unused items to donate. This will help you declutter, reduce stress, and use the resources you already have.
Reflect on the social and spiritual aspects of the Holidays. Truly delight in time spent socializing, and avoid those gatherings you find toxic. Instead of feeling obligated to attend parties, dwell on the joy of the occasion. Watch holiday movies and have fun decorating. Attend religious services, spend time in prayer, and meditate on scriptures. Openly celebrate Christmas if you are a Christian, but be tolerant of other religious celebrations and people that do not celebrate the season.
Pick a date to put up decorations and take them down. Decide when and where to have gatherings ahead of time, so you may alleviate arguments about visiting or hosting others. Remember you cannot do everything well, so delegate responsibilities. Focus on a few things that you love to do.
Above all, live in the moment, savor old traditions, but stay open to new celebrations. May you have a more relaxed, thoughtful, and joyous holiday season!