The holidays are here and they don’t have to be hard or stressful. Let’s re-think in terms of “my holidays are stress-free zones.” Here are expert tips to help you relax and have more joy with a happier, healthier holiday.
What gives you the holiday blues? Is it finances, too much to do, interpersonal relationships, high expectations, or something completely different? Thinking about it now might help you alleviate some of the stress before it happens this year. Once you can name them, you can change them.
It is time to raise the bar on what really brings you joy and creates inner peace.
Science and mental health experts agree exercise is one of the best ways to reduce depression, anxiety, and overall stress levels. Exercise can also raise and stabilize moods as well as improve sleep. Judith Orloff, MD, and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California in Los Angeles, states adding sunshine to your daily movement can create more feel-good serotonin in your body and help ease symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) .
Spend time outside or near a sunny window and enjoy a “sunshine” nap when you can.
It is OK to let go of perfection. Remember it doesn’t have to be a one-person show—share a task from your list or assign dishes to others. Pre-planning for shopping, errand running, and cooking can help, too. This is your time to enjoy friends and family, and the best times happen when you stop to share them.
It’s the real days, the ones we are actually there for, that we remember as perfect.
Families and friends don’t necessarily live close or all have the same schedules. Be flexible and change dates or times in order to gather everyone together. Instead of baking ALL the cookies, create a cookie exchange where everyone bakes enough of their two favorites to share with others. And remember, this time of year everyone’s budget needs a break, so set a dollar amount for gifts that fits and stick to it—see who can be the most creative.
Memories are made from what we create and share together, like a family Christmas in June or lasagna for Thanksgiving.
Decorating for that perfect mood doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify or use humor, like Mistletoe for hugs with a sign under it that says: “Stand Here.” Have a tree dressed only with lights and then have the guests add decorations. Ask a “techy” family member to update the holiday playlist. We all love the snacks, cookies, and appetizers, but make sure to offer healthy choices, too. Also, no one needs the stress of cell phone buzzes and email beeps…turn them off! It is not the time for news or CNN.
Feeding positive vibes of joy creates more positive vibes to enjoy.
Sandi Anderson is an intuitive Life and Soul Coach, teacher, and Energy Healer. She lives and works in the Chippewa Valley and maintains a private practice under the name “Intentions.” She has guided and “in” powered many individuals over the past 25 years to deal with a variety of transitions, challenges, and choices.