Sure, it is the most wonderful time of the year. And with the baking, traveling, gathering, wrapping and celebrating, it is also the busiest. How can you keep your calm so you can enjoy the best of the season without feeling frazzled? Try these tips to take the hustle out of your holiday and sail serenely into the New Year.
Make self-care a priority
You wouldn’t take a road trip without a tune-up or full tank of gas would you? Probably not. Your body needs extra care to get through the marathon of the holiday season, too. Aim for adequate sleep (at least 7 hours most evenings) and exercise for 30 minutes most days each week (break it into 2 or 3 sessions as your schedule allows); exercise releases feel good chemicals in the body and helps you more easily manage stress and anxiety. Also, avoid overindulging in too many unhealthy foods. Keeping in mind that you are what you eat adopt the 80/20 rule (80 healthy choices/20 indulgences) to fuel your body well and give yourself the energy you need to feel your best.
Prioritize your time
As much as you want to you just can’t say yes to everyone and everything. Opt for the most meaningful experiences that really capture the feeling of the holiday or put you in places and with people that feed your spirit. If your schedule starts to get crazy give yourself permission to say no to anything that does not meet these criteria.
Decide it is okay not to be perfect
Maybe you got some really great ideas from a magazine, acquaintance or design show about creating the perfect holiday meal or gathering. It is okay if yours is good enough instead of perfect. Remind yourself that what you are really striving for are memorable experiences that help friends and loved ones feel connected. How can you connect if you are in the kitchen or orchestrating a picture perfect event? Chances are you can’t. Instead slow down and focus on people over perfection.
Make time for meditation
Just five minutes in the morning can help you feel more focused all day. Begin by sitting tall with your spine straight and feet flat on the floor. Simply notice your breath as you sit comfortably. Keep your awareness on your breath – instead of your to do list – as it moves in and out of your body. If your mind wanders away from its focus on your breath, and it will, just return your attention to each inhalation and exhalation.
You’ve heard that two heads are better than one and many hands make shorter work. There is a reason these expressions have been around for so long, they’re true. Share the load. Give up some control in exchange for the calm that comes with company in the holiday trenches.
You can enjoy the holidays without feeling over anxious and stressed. Just relax, set realistic expectations, take good care of yourself, set boundaries and accept help. Remember, the best of the holidays is in the people not their perfection. Have fun.