December 1st...the holidays are here which can bring some unwelcome guests — stress, anxiety, depression. It's no wonder, with all the demands — parties, shopping, baking, entertaining, family expectations.
Although becoming Scrooge and doing nothing is an option. There is another way to maintain your sanity. Try these four practices to keep your energy high and stress low through the holidays and into the new year.
- Be flexible. -- The holidays don't have to be perfect or like previous years. Families change and traditions can change, as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, I have 7 siblings and as adults, we would gather on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, Christmas Eve no longer works. Most of our children are adults and many of them are married and have children themselves. It is near impossible to keep that tradition with such an extended family. Jason, Kylie, Richie and I now spend Christmas Eve by ringing the Salvation Army bell followed by attending church and dinner with my brother’s family.
- Be willing to say “No”. -- Saying “yes” when you should say “no” can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Who wants to have that kind of mindset at any time of the year, let alone Christmas? If you are considering a request or invitation, stay focused on what matters to you most and take guilt out of the equation.
- Don't abandon your healthy habits. -- It’s easy for the holidays to become a free-for-all. Skipping workouts, staying up late, and overindulging only adds to your stress and guilt. With the extra demands, it is likely you will miss a workout, have a few extra late nights, or mindlessly eat too many cookies. Don’t fall into that “all or nothing” thinking trap and take guilt out of the equation. Begin again the next day. "Begin again" is my go to mantra at times like that.
- Replenish. -- Spending as little as 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle your “to do” list. What you spend your alone time on is a personal choice as something that may replete me, could deplete you. However, here are a few ideas: Savor a cup of tea, take a walk, listen to music, read a book.
Although these practices are simple, I know they may not be easy. I also know that you are worth the effort. Wishing you a December of joy, happiness and health.
Looking forward to connecting in 2018. Thanks for reading!