The holiday season is approaching fast, with Christmas parties and pageants to attend, presents to buy, cookies to bake and so many people to see ... the season of good tidings and joy can quickly turn into stressful days and sleepless nights if we are not properly prepared, trust me. Been there, done that, no thank you!
I don't know about you, but I have grown to appreciate the peacefulness that I feel on the inside, and I now protect it like my life depends on it...because it DOES!
Here a 6 of my top tips to turn a frown upside down and keep the holidays blues at bay.
1. Don't wing it or leave it to chance. Do make a list and check it twice.
To keep the holidays feeling merry and bright, preparedness is key. Take the time to sit down, gather your thoughts and then put it all down on paper. Make a list of everything you'll need to do and purchase for the holidays. Planning ahead will minimize running around and over-spending, which will create more time to do the things you enjoy and less time spent on stressing about it.
With list in hand, do your research. Watch for sales & discounts. To avoid long holiday lines, shop online and call stores ahead of time to find out if they are carrying what it is that you are looking for. Make adjustments as you go, but do your best to stick to the list. Approach the season like anything in life, with a sense of direction and doing things with a purpose. Leave little to chance and you will have a successful venture.
2. Don't shop till you drop and worry about the total later. Do make a budget and stick to it.
Relieve the pressure of holiday over-spending by creating a budget, plan ahead and stick to it. It is so important to remember what the season is all about; love. family, togetherness ... not 'stuff'!
Once you have taken the time to figure out what your spending limit it is, plan ahead utilizing Tip #1, and know exactly how much you have for gifts as well as holiday meal preparation.
If cutting back is necessary, here are some ways to help you out:
Talk to family and friends about keeping things simple this year. Two ways to save are to shorten your gift-giving list and lessen the amount spent on each gift. By discussing in advance, you won't have to feel any guilt and everyone will be a lot happier with less credit card debt in the end. Did you know it takes the average consumer at least 4 months after Christmas to pay off the holiday frenzy?
Google and Amazon are great places to search up gift ideas on a budget. Some people I've talked to have eliminated the gift exchange all together and instead have chosen to give back by supporting a local family in need.
Focus on what matters most- spending quality time together with the people you love. Make time for some fun activities that don't require spending money like playing games! Another great idea that doesn't cost anything and only takes a few moments of your time could be sharing a note of appreciation, a gift that comes straight from your heart. Expressing love and gratitude is way more meaningful than any store bought gift that you can find.
3. Don't Eat And Drink Too Much. Do Plan Ahead.
I know, I know, this is easier said than done. Here's the thing, if you've been diligent all year long with loving your self and your body and focused on getting into better shape like I have been, who wants to throw it all out the window and pack on an unhealthy 5 or 10 pounds? Certainly not me! Not only that, but over indulgence can actually increase your risk of feeling anxious and depressed.
Here are my recommendations:
Eat something healthy and filling before heading to the party. You will still be able to eat your holiday favorites, but this will keep you from eating too many sweet treats that make you pack on those extra pounds. Also, if you are planning on consuming an alcoholic beverage, why not make it a low calorie fizzy drink? A wine spritzer can be made by mixing your favorite wine with sparkling water, seltzer or club soda; mixed half and half in an 8 ounce glass can be less than 80 calories a serving. Another savvy waist watching drink is vodka mixed with soda and either a slice of lemon or lime.
Be sure to drink your water, water, water so you are not to fill up on too many empty calories.
4. Don't Worry About Everything Being Perfect. Do Keep Realistic Expectations.
Here's the thing ... there is no such thing as the perfect family! I hate to break it to you, but it just doesn't exist, so relax, let that notion go and keep the main thing the main thing; Peace, Love and happiness. Stress and peace cannot co-exist together, so, set your intention of how you want your holiday experience to go and keep calm.
Someone will inevitably be unhappy, something will be forgotten and everything will still be ok. I used to let this ruin me and my day, but not anymore. Just stay in the moment, have fun and laugh it off because all you can do is make the best with what you have and that is good enough.
5. Don't Put Your Own Well-Being On The Back Burner. Do Take Time For Yourself.
There isn't a better time of the year to stick to your routine than the present (pun intended lol) in order to maintain your sanity.
Make time to sweat! When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which lower your stress hormone (cortisol) and increases your happy hormone (serotonin).
Take time to breathe. When that feeling over overwhelm starts to creep in, stop what you are doing and just breathe. This simple mindfulness technique can be done on your couch, in your car, or even the checkout line. Close your eyes, take a deep breathe in & count to 8, then exhale all the way out, again counting to 8. Think: Breathe in serenity & breathe out stress. Just a few minutes of this will change your bodies physical and emotional responses to stress (decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, and muscle tension) and have you feeling more calm, relaxed and centered in no time.
Go for a walk. Take a bath. Kick your feet up and put on National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. By Taking time for yourself, you will better be able to enjoy the people around you AND the people around you will better be able to enjoy YOU :)
6. Don't Plan Too Many Activities. Do Examine Your Priorities.
There is so much to do, so many people to see, cards to prepare, holiday baking to be done and of course shopping galore, that it can leave us feeling exhausted and bewildered.
My advice: Make a list of all your usual holiday priorities and ask your family which activities are most important to them. By doing this, you can eliminate all but the most important holiday traditions. Ask for help, such as paying someone to your clean your house, I promise it is well worth the investment. Bake your favorites and hire out or buy the rest. Use a card service such as send out cards this year or email out a greeting instead of taking the time to do the old-fashioned hand written method.
Avoid being the people pleaser. It is ok to say No and do your best at staying true to you! Keep your gratitude list close by as a reminder of all the goodness in your life. If it is easier for people to come to you, then having you packing up all the kids and going to them, don't be afraid to say so! Take time to soak up every moment, for time goes by so fast and before you know it, kids are grown up and moved away.
Our last 'all-together' Christmas picture taken in 2015 before the older girls started traveling and moving away!
We are all going to be together again and I am certain 2017 will be a Christmas to be remembered!!
We wish you all the very best this holiday season and may ALL your days be merry and bright.
Yours In Good Health And Happiness,
I am a Certified Health Coach guiding you to have more confidence, live an authentic and purposeful life & really connect to your inner power, get healthy inside & out and live a limitless life of complete joy, freedom and happiness.
I am happily married to my high school sweetheart for 22 years and a mother to 4 beautiful children. I believe that life is to be enjoyed & laughter is always the best medicine. I look at the body as an integrated being, taking a holistic approach to healing the physical as well as energetic body. Friends & family are most important to me, I love the outdoors and feel most at peace when I am in nature. I am a Certified Health Coach, Blogger & NWM Professional. I am also what I like to call a learn-o-holic who also enjoys running, hiking and going for walks down by the river.
My mission: To help you 'Live Your Best Life Now'!