Happy Holidays Everyone!
I know for many people this time of year is fun, festive, and even magical. Sprinkle these holiday tips between the decorations and lights everywhere, Christmas cookies, cute holiday TV commercials, and seeing family and friends, it has a feel that is unmatched by any other time of the year.
Although the holidays have that special feel, it can also be a time of stress and, for some families, a time of sadness if certain family or friends have passed away. Keeping your stress in check with these Ho-Ho-holiday tips can help you bring the most joy out of the season.
Stressful Situation #1 - Holiday Shopping
Holiday shopping is one of those things that I can do without. It seems the older I get, the more people I need to purchase for, and it gets harder and harder (Wait, not EVERYONE wants socks?). Of course I enjoy finding the perfect gift for family and friends and landing a sweet deal on my purchases, but my bank account bleeds after the holiday season. If you dread holiday shopping, follow these tips to help alleviate the “bank account blues:"
- Budget: By setting a budget, you can be realistic about what you expect to spend and still be able to pay bills after the shopping is done. I have friends who will start saving money towards Christmas gifts the January following the holidays, and it lessens the blow come November and December knowing they have the money allocated for presents.
- Simplify: Yes, I want to buy my fiancé EVERY picture of Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers known to man, and my friends all deserve gifts upon gifts, but sometimes you just need to stop. Simplify the number of people you buy for. For those whom you feel bad about cutting out, encourage getting together for lunch or dinner out or just spending time together. For the people that you do purchase gifts for, keep it simple and pick out one or two things you know they will really love.
- Creativity: Pinterest and the internet are amazing resources for finding fantastic ideas for homemade gifts that are practical, fun, and have a little bit of you in them. Plus, they likely have not received a gift like that in the past — Win-Win!
Stressful Situation #2 - Holiday Parties
I know for my fiancé and I, this year we have had to finagle our schedules to balance numerous parties on both sides of each family ... and also try and figure out how to be in two places at once for a few celebrations. While we don't have the stress of hosting our own party, it can take a toll on relationships and the holiday spirit. Take these tips into consideration:
- Hosting: If you are hosting holiday parties this year, you may have a whole other level of stress. A good tip is to delegate tasks and food to attending guests to keep your sanity in check. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remember that sometimes, simple is better.
- Attending: For many families, there are multiple gatherings that you may feel are dictating your entire holiday season, and there may even be some that you are not excited about attending. I think it’s important to see the bigger picture — you get to see family and friends and share in the memory making (even if not so positive). Sometimes the holiday party season involves a little give-and-take, but coming in with a positive attitude and willingness to ‘go with the flow’ can help this process.
- Family: I say this with love, but sometimes there are certain family members who you believe are not on Santa’s “Nice” list. It can be tough during the holidays knowing that some parties may have some characters that add to the stress of the season. Sometimes the best thing you can do is ‘let it go’ (Ok, who just sang that with me?). By taking the high road, going with the flow, and all of the other happy mantras you may need to repeat to yourself to get through “those” holiday parties, it allows you to worry about your own actions and reduce your stress. I think it’s a good challenge to choose gratefulness through all aspects of the holidays and, hopefully, to help change your mindset.
Stressful Situation #3 - Holiday Weight Gain
Stress, when paired with the holidays, can be especially detrimental to your wellness plan. Use these tips to keep on the straight and narrow:
- Eating: It is already tough to keep the holiday weight off, but when you add potential stress eating and drinking to that mix — watch out! Allow yourself the yummy holiday treats in moderation, but don’t forget about the healthy stuff, too (think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins … Christmas cookies are NOT on that list!).
- Exercise: Just because it's the holidays, it doesn't give you a free pass to skip your workouts. Need more motivation? Stress can be warded off by a good sweat session! Take the time to add an extra walk around the block, or sweat session to combat the holiday weight gain, and help keep stress in check.
- Booze: Although you may think you need to drink a little extra to get through certain holiday parties, it can leave you not feeling so great the next day … and a little guilty about the extra goodies consumed. Remember to consume alcohol in moderation, and stick with the lower sugar and calorie mixers to keep the calorie indulgence under control.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember YOU during the craziness of the holidays. Take the time to enjoy the things that you look forward to about the season, and hold onto the joy during the tough and stressful times.
I hope everyone enjoys their holiday season, and we’ll see you next year!