The last few weeks of the year might be total madness. Or it might be a time to slow down, reflect and re-energize for the new year ahead. Sometimes it can cause anxiety, or melancholy, or extreme happiness. Who doesn’t love a good holiday movie or singing carols in the car driving down to grandma’s house? It’s different for everyone, but one thing for sure is that it can cause stress, in so many ways.
There’s making all the food and buying and wrapping presents and dealing with your crazy uncle or schlepping through an overcrowded airport. Missing luggage, missed connections, missing loved ones, missing the holidays because of work or other responsibilities.
Here’s where we can help. Take an hour to focus on yourself, to calm down, to work off that hyper energy. Remember to exercise! Maybe it’s a quick run or tennis game, or maybe take a stress-relieving yoga class in the middle of all of the madness. Whatever it is that you need at this time of year, take care of you.
It’s a time to really focus on your healthy lifestyle, too. If you know you are going to a big meal or a holiday party, then make sure you workout in the morning. Get up a little earlier if you need to so that you have some time for you, or a quiet cup of tea and the newspaper, or a walk with your dog around the neighborhood. If you are baking, do some squats and lunges across the kitchen, or use those nieces and nephews and grandkids as weights for some loaded carries around the yard. They’ll love it and you’ll feel good, too.
And here are a few practical tips:
- It’s the thought that counts. No, really. We all just want to feel important to someone, right? So it doesn’t have to be the perfect, most expensive gift. It just has to be thoughtful. Try not to put so much pressure on yourself, or your bank account, because it isn’t what you give that they will remember, but how you made them feel.
- Whose family is really like the ones in the movies? Unless it’s Christmas Vacation, which could be fun. 🙂 Try not to have any expectations, and whatever happens will be either a lovely surprise or not as bad as you might have thought. Remember, everyone is fighting their own battles, and we might not know what those are, but we can practice grace and compassion.
- Make a list. What are really your priorities? Can anything wait? Try to stick to it to minimize your seasonal overstress. If you do have too much to do on your own, it’s okay to ask for help. Maybe it won’t be done the way you would do it, but sharing the load is a two-way gift: you get to check something off your list, and someone else gets to help. Isn’t that the meaning of the season?
So remember this: take time for yourself, don’t try to do everything, and do keep in mind that the holidays are supposed to be a time to share ourselves with the ones we love or those in need. We could all use a little bit of that, right?
Happy holidays from your MNU family!