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The most wonderful time of the year is upon us! But all the excitement and holiday cheer can also bring stress and overwhelm. In our hustle and bustle world, it’s easy to get caught up with expectations and everything we think we need to do and buy to make the holidays a success. But that doesn’t have to be the case! There’s no checklist you can cross off or formula you can complete to achieve the ‘perfect’ holiday season. It’s all about what’s in your mind and heart!
So, without further ado, here are our five secrets to enjoying a joyful, memorable, stress-free holiday season.
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1. Get Organized
Most holiday chaos can be summed up in one word: Disorganization. All the options, obligations, and distractions of the season can result in being pulled in a hundred different directions with a hundred other to-do lists and ending the holidays stressed out. So start getting things in order!
One of our favorite ways to get organized is list-making. You can make a list for everything from groceries to gifts to family commitments. Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper (or your phone) can go a long way toward eliminating stressors and establishing healthy habits.
2. Learn to Say 'No'
This time of year offers countless options for fun excursions and seasonal activities. However, the choices can become overwhelming, especially when we think we have to do everything. With so much to do and so little time, it’s essential to our wellness to be selective about which activities we choose and which offers we accept. We all enjoy spending time with our friends and family, but invitations are just that: invitations!
We can - and sometimes should - say no! Our friends and families deserve the best version of us (and so do we!), and we can’t give them that if we’re strung out from a whole week of non-stop outings and hitting every holiday party. So take some time for self-care this season, and don’t be afraid to leave a little free space in your calendar. Your physical and mental health will thank you!
3. Set Realistic Expectations
This tip goes hand-in-hand with Tip #2. We often put immense pressure on ourselves and this time of year to be perfect. This is especially common for parents, and who can blame us? We want our kids to have incredible memories! But we’ll let you in on a little secret: So many of the little things we laser-focus on are things other people don’t even notice! Pouring all our energy into trying to create the ideal holiday (hint: it doesn’t exist) inevitably leaves us feeling disappointed, burnt out, and unappreciated.
So this year, try setting realistic, achievable goals. Instead of visiting every Christmas light display in your city, limit yourself to 2-3 and spread them throughout the month. Instead of agonizing over recreating Grandma’s pie recipe just how she used to, get your kids involved and ask them what they’d like to make. Maybe you’ll even come up with a new holiday tradition!
4. Watch Your Diet & Hydrate
Sweets and treats are some of the best parts of the holiday season. We enjoy them every year! The key is to choose your treats carefully and enjoy everything in moderation. Sometimes holidays serve as an excuse to indulge in not-so-great foods and drinks we wouldn’t consume otherwise, so keep an eye on how often you’re swaying from your normal diet.
Foods high in processed sugars and preservatives are bad for your body no matter the time of year. (In fact, they can be even worse for your health in the winter when sicknesses are rampant.) Indulge in treats made with clean, whole ingredients or, even better, ones from your own kitchen! And, as always, keep up with your water intake! A hydrated body is a healthy body.
5. Practice Gratitude and Meaningful Connection
Holidays are about sharing our good fortune and appreciating all the gifts we’ve been given. And what better gift have any of us received than our friends and family members? Spending time with our loved ones isn’t just ‘what we do’ this time of year; it’s also the perfect way to slow down, center ourselves, and live in the moment. If you aim to reduce your stress level, what better way than laughing with your little brother, catching up with an old friend, or listening to your parents retell childhood stories?
Many people don’t realize just how critical community is to our health! Research shows that among demographics that live the longest, participation in a thriving community is a consistent thread. So we don’t just love lively family dinners and laughing to tears with friends - they’re essential to our well-being!
This holiday season, we encourage you to look beyond the glitter, the noise, and the ‘things’ and refocus on what really matters. Take the time to sit quietly, reflect, and appreciate the beauty around you. You’ll enjoy a peaceful, joyful season no matter what comes your way!
From all of us on the Wellnesse team, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!