With the arrival of the holiday season, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with finding the perfect gifts, decorating, baking, parties and sending of holiday cards. That’s not to mention the often high expectations we have for ourselves to make the season extra special for loved ones.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, remember you are in charge of how you choose to navigate all the extras of the season. Start by pushing the pause button to visualize and paint a picture in your mind’s eye of the most important elements of your ideal holiday season. How can you make your vision come true? It might mean letting go of some of the extras.
Here are some ideas to help keep yourself healthy and focused on the real reason for the season. Notice how the first tips on this list focus on self-care.
Consume high-energy foods
Think about the 80/20 rule this month. Consciously choose to eat healthy 80 percent of the time so you can enjoy a few indulgences. Bring healthy snacks to the office and during shopping trips, and keep energizing foods at home to avoid overindulging in foods that drag you down. Protein shakes, sliced fruit, veggie trays, almonds, string cheese, or healthy granola bars will provide the long-lasting energy you desire.
Prioritizing exercise in the morning is the surest way to “check it off the list.” This healthy choice creates positive energy for the rest of the day, relieves stress and improves mood. Check out free YouTube exercise videos, or try a free trial of my favorite, the Peloton App, on your smartphone or other smart devices.
Don’t skimp on sleep
Commit to a bedtime that will provide adequate sleep so you can feel refreshed and fully present during this magical time.
Practice clear communication
Discuss dates and times of family gatherings. If you have a gift exchange, be sure to set a budget that is comfortable for everyone. We enjoy white elephant gift exchange with extended family and this year siblings and spouses have decided to forego exchanging gifts.
Avoid the stress of last-minute gift shopping and gift wrapping.
Take time for reflection
What holiday traditions do you enjoy? If you have special holiday memories, what made those memories special? Use this information as you plan your activities.
Make this season special for others
We all know how good it feels to give. This season, combat senior loneliness by giving the gift of connection to an isolated senior in a retirement home. Go to HappyGram.org/HappyHolidays to send an uplifting note to a lonely senior. It may be the only holiday card they receive.
Light a prayer candle
Dedicate a candle in your home as a prayer candle. Together as a family, choose a different person, need or intention for whom you are lighting the candle and praying for each day.
Send good thoughts
After opening a Christmas card, pause and send good thoughts/prayers to the family who sent it to you.
Practice gratitude when stressed
Busy roads and long lines offer opportunities to practice patience and gratitude. If you find yourself feeling agitated waiting in line, flex your patience muscles and say thank you, for being able to be warm inside. Stuck in traffic? Be thankful for a car that works.
Meaningful holidays don’t just happen. They come as a result of taking intentional steps to make sure your celebrations are what you would like them to be.
Kylie Alger is a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind & Spirit. Comments: [email protected].