Since moving to the Northwest, I find that I really enjoy all the seasons even more than before. Each one brings something special. But more and more over the years it seems that Fall never lasts as long as the other seasons. Maybe it’s because of all the marketing for the holidays happens earlier and earlier each year. When I was young, it was taboo to have anything even in the stores for Christmas before Thanksgiving!
The Holidays can be stressful, that period of Halloween through New Year Day. Our ‘To-Do’ list can sometimes seem overwhelming. When I start feeling the panic of it all, I have learned to take several deep breathes and then begin to revisit my priorities. It always amazes me at how off track I can get due to pressures of society and well intended family and friends. Here are some things I have done to simplify so I can really enjoy this special time of the year.
- Keep expectations for the season manageable.
- Organize your time and make a list and prioritize the activities that really matter.
- Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
- And remember to schedule some down time to relax and take care of yourself.
O.K., I know what you’re thinking. That last bullet point might sound counterproductive during what’s supposed to be a season of loving your fellow man. But believe me it is REALLY important!
Regularly giving yourself time to regroup, without distractions, gives you both energy and calm. That means you will be more fun to be around AND you will be able to focus better, therefore accomplishing more in less time.
- Get your sleep, exercise, water & eat healthy. Having a small snack between meals can help to keep your stamina and mood up, so aim to eat something 4-5 times a day
- Before answering an invitation or building a gingerbread house, Check in with your body first, every time pause to notice how you feel. Are you excited or tense, relaxed or head-achy, calm or vaguely nauseated. If you’re not good to go, don’t do it. And don’t worry about what others will think.
- Say “yes” to the bigger gatherings. Attending events where you’ll see lots of faces in a short period really helps me feel less obligated to attend lots of smaller events over successive evenings. Big parties can be exhausting, but then you’re done.
- Take a mid-party break. Step outside. Look up at the stars. Or Find a quiet corner where you can listen to music alone for a few minutes or do some deep breathing, even if it’s just in the bathroom.
De-stress the gift giving
I don’t know about you, but I find gift shopping very stressful. All the tips below are ones I have done ( still do many) and they have all been received well.
- Give the gift of experience. Tickets to a sporting event or arts performance, a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, membership to a zoo or museum. Bonus: One-stop shopping. You can give the same gift to many recipients.
- Give the gift of your presence. Make coupons for activities you can share with an older or younger relative: shopping or fishing outings, regular ice cream parlor visits, time to read together or play cards together. Young parents might like babysitting favors. Older adults might welcome drives in the country.
- Give uniformly. Find a single gift that works for all the adult relatives or business associates on your list (a food or ornament souvenir from a favorite destination or your hometown) and another for all the kids (iTunes gift cards are a safe bet).
- Give a handmade holiday. Try burning CDs, a photo calendar or mug, making spaghetti sauce, baking, crafting, drawing, and so on. It’s amazing how creative even non-“handy” people can get.
De-stress the Decorating
All those lights, all that razzle-dazzle — it takes effort, not to mention energy and resources. Downshifting to a more ecologically friendly holiday is a simple way to get a simpler look.
- Put up just a few lights or better, Skip the lights in front of the house (and maybe even the tree). Fewer watts to burn, fewer strings for you to get tangled in.
- Decorate with natural elements. Fill bowls with pinecones or clove studded oranges. Bring red berry &/ or pine branches indoors (or snip boughs from the bottom of the tree). Bonus: No hauling boxes of decorations down from the attic. When the season ends, you can just pitch everything on the compost pile.
- Wrap gifts in paper you already have on hand. Ordinary newsprint or paper grocery bags look festive tied with string in red or silver. No newsprint in this digital age? Try recycling some of those holiday catalog pages for smaller gifts.
At the root of a lot of holiday stress is feeling the need to do certain things, in a certain way, in the name of tradition. Maybe you want to please aging parents or carry on in their memory. Or maybe your focus is on creating the same traditions, so your kids will know them, too. Either way, the effort often creates more stress (for you) than bliss.
- Don’t assume, ask. Find out which parts of the holiday truly mean the most to your loved ones. You might be surprised by what others really like. Caroling? A special feast? Baking together? Driving around to look at the lights anddecorations? Keep one or two of those traditions — period — and do them up.
- Shift your focus. Decide to make happy memories, rather than continue traditions for tradition’s sake. The more relaxed an event, the more likely everyone will want to keep it up, making future holidays easier, too.
Shifting the focus away from so-called ‘obligations’ to what really matters to those you love and care about will make for a happier next couple of months filled with precious memories.
Get Meal Shortcut Tips HERE
To help with De-Stressing the Holidays with Essential Oils click HERE
Share your favorite traditions below,