Rethinking the Holidays!

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us! There’s so much to do this time of year: spending time with family, shopping, and wrapping-up the end of the year with work,  not to mention all of  the eating!  

With so much going on, it is very easy for us to get caught up in the holiday rat race rather than enjoying the joy of the season. I don’t know about you, but every year I promise myself that I will get all the holiday details handled throughout the year so that I can relax and enjoy myself, but  every year it’s an epic fail!

So how does your favorite therapist and coach keep calm during the stress of the holidays???  Here are my favorite tips….

The presents….

Remember the purpose of a gift is to bring someone happiness, not stress out the giver or leave him broke.  My tips? Buy a single gift for the whole family, instead of individual ones,  like a family gift pass or year membership to the zoo.  Give the gift of time rather than something the recipient can hold.  For example, create a jar filled with ideas of spending time with that person throughout the year, or a dinner date with someone after the holidays are settled.

The food….

We don’t have to eat our way through the holidays.  Maintain a regular diet throughout the day, and only indulge at the foods that bring back memories for you, like your grandmother’s apple pie, at gatherings.  Keep in mind that we are what we eat and what we eat impacts how we feel (plug for my next blog here), so overeating can leave us with more than just a few extra pounds, it can also leave us with the holiday blues.

The family….

If you are already dreading the family interactions, then they are already dreadful.  Think about and focus on what you want from these gatherings instead of what you don’t want.  People are capable of change, but they never will make changes  if we don’t choose to focus on the positive in them.  Decide how you will react to them BEFORE you go to the gathering.  This will at the very least lessen your anxiety prior to going!  If necessary, keep the gatherings limited in duration and have a plan of de-stressing after.

The holiday blues…

The holiday blues are not just for people who are alone for the holidays, they can impact any one of us!  Not feeling the season this year?  Cut yourself some slack and understand that this is completely normal.  Want to lessen the blues?  Reduce the amount of alcohol you take in, get your butt to the gym (no excuses), or talk it out with someone you trust.  One of the biggest ways I tell my clients that they can reduce the holiday blues is to go do something kind for someone else.  Be a secret Santa, volunteer in a homeless kitchen or be a friend to someone in need.

Remember, the holidays are only as hectic as you allow them to be.