The holidays are a wonderful time of year for reflection, giving, and love. They are also a time that usually involves a great deal of planning, attending events, and navigating busy parking lots and stores. This side of the holidays is stressful for everyone, and may lead to some feelings that are less-than-jolly.
We’ve put together some tips to help you make the most of this holiday season, and help you keep your name on the “nice” list!
1) Prioritize based on what’s important to you.
This tip may sound like common sense, but it’s amazing how lost we can get in “should’s” that aren’t necessarily important to us. “I should attend this event”, “I should send this person a card”, “I should decorate” – sound familiar? When we get lost in “should’s”, we can start to lose sight of whether this activity is truly important to us or if it’s just an obligation we feel we have to fulfill. If we feel it’s an obligation that isn’t necessarily important to us, it may be time to question why we feel it’s an obligation and what purpose it’s fulfilling. If we find that it’s purpose is to make a good impression on others or to cater to others’ opinions, we may want to question why that’s important to us.
2) Plan ahead.
Planning ahead helps to alleviate stress, especially during the holiday season when stress is usually at a peak! If you are planning a shopping trip, make a list of the things you need ahead of time and stick to your list while you are out. If you are hosting a dinner, make a menu and a list of the groceries you need to purchase. Lists help make things more predictable, which minimizes our fear of the unknown.
3) JOMO – Give yourself a break!
Similarly to Tip #1, it is sometimes meaningful to forgo events that aren’t as important to you if it means spending more time with those who are important (including yourself!). Making time for a movie night (or day) in can be helpful to reconnect, recharge, and be present with those you love.
4) Stay present.
Have you ever felt like you were on the verge of a Christmas Vacation’s Clark Griswold freak-out? With all of the planning that goes into holidays, it’s important to pause, ground, and reconnect with the present moment from time to time. This can take the form of simply taking three slow, deep breaths. It may also be helpful to try a more formal mindfulness practice, using an app such as Stop, Breathe, Think or Insight Timer. Being present may also mean doing an activity mindfully, such as going for a walk to look at holiday lights or mindfully wrapping gifts.
5) Show gratitude.
With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it is helpful to pause and remember what you are doing this all for. Take time to show gratitude for the things that are important to you, even if it isn’t perfect. It may mean taking mental note of three things you are grateful for, sharing words of appreciation before a meal, or telling someone you love how much they mean to you. Gratitude can be a beautiful way to reconnect with the meaning behind the season, and joy that can be found in the little things.
We hope you enjoyed these tips to help you bring a little more presence and peace to your holidays.
We wish you a wonderful holiday season, and a happy and healthy New Year!