It’s that time of the year, again! Happy Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-Kwanzaa-New-Year! It seems that the final quarter goes quickly…too quickly. In the midst of holiday stress, you can lose sight of what is most important. Here are 5 quick tips to help you stay sane:
1. Take a moment to be mindful
You don’t have to go on an “Eat, Pray, Love” journey to disconnect from the world. Whether you have 5 minutes or just 30 seconds, take time for you. Breathe deeply, think about what you are grateful for, and think about what you can let go of (even if it’s just for the moment). This may seem awkward at first, but with practice, you will find your mind is able to consider new approaches and direct your thoughts towards solutions.
2. Say NO to doing it all
Maybe your holiday cards didn’t go out after Thanksgiving. Maybe they never made it out of the store. Maybe you never even went in to buy them. It’s okay. Rather than reflecting on what others will think if you don’t get everything right, think about giving yourself some space to be human and miss a few items off of your to-do list. You don’t have to make every party or social event, either. Practice telling people, “Thank you for the invitation, but I (we) can’t make it this year”. No, you don’t have to offer an explanation (but do say it nicely!).
3. Say YES to what matters most
What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? Whether it is spending time with family, or getting some time to yourself, be fully present for those moments. Don’t think about what else you could, would, or should be doing!
4. Don’t set yourself up for a New Year’s breakdown
In the final month of the year, it is tempting to move whatever you haven’t done by December 31 into January, then add in everything else you would ever like to accomplish in life. Don’t give into that temptation! The New Year is not a magical time in which you suddenly cultivate willpower to go to the gym, stick to a budget, and be the person you’ve never been.
Each of your goals require preparation, follow-through, appropriate resources and support, and consistency over time. Pause. Read my article on Taking Action in the New Year to help you dig deeper and figure out not only what you really want, but what you are motivated to make happen.
5. Release expectations of others
The holidays can be an especially draining and challenging time for those dealing with difficult life circumstances. If you have challenging relationships with your friends or family members, try to accept them as human beings, individuals with their own flaws and priorities. Whether they surpass your expectations or fall short, keep in mind that you only control yourself and your reactions. Above all, take good care of yourself and those for whom you provide care.
What is the most stressful part of the holiday season for you? How do you deal with the stress?
Image “Sad Snowman” courtesy of Simon Howden at Freedigitalphotos.net