With the Holidays rapidly approaching many of us find ourselves getting “stressed” out with the seemingly endless things to do……. cooking, shopping, cleaning and preparation. For many of us it may be seeing family members we’re not fond of or that we haven’t spoken to in years. The dreaded in-laws or a long lost friend or family member can create feelings of anxiety, sadness or perhaps anger. Memories of family members that are not here this holiday may leave us feeling overwhelmed with disappointment or heartache. You may wish this was all a dream and that when you wake up it’ll all be over.
So, how do we stay Happy, Healthy and Terrific this Holiday Season?
#1 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Enjoy the moment and the opportunity to be with loved ones. The turkey may burn, the stuffing may be over-cooked and the house may not be perfectly clean. It is ok! Take a deep breath and a minute to laugh. Looking back on holiday blunders can create lasting memories and many laughs for years to come.
Many of us like to think we are super stars and can do it all. Maybe you can; however if you find that you are getting overwhelmed, frustrated or annoyed that is your cue to engage others. Preparation, cooking and then the big clean up afterwards can be most enjoyed with the help of others. Chances are your guests want to help and if this is not the case make the invitation irresistible. Play a fun song like “We are Family” and let the dancing and singing begin. You may find you have more helpers than you need or want.
#3 Celebrate the Life of Those Loved Ones Not With You
This may be the first year a loved one is not with you this Holiday. Set aside time to talk about and share your favorite memories. Remember the times he/she made you laugh. You may want to bring a picture or make “Uncle Alfred’s” sweet potato casserole. Celebrate the life of your loved one! You may laugh or cry or both and that’s ok.
Mark off some time for YOU in your busy Holiday schedule. A little self indulgence can go a long way to making you stress less this Holiday Season. A few hours cuddled up watching the “housewives”, a long bubble bath with wine and a good book, a hot stone massage, or a day of beauty with your best friend. Some people call these “Guilty Pleasures”, but we call them methods for “Preventative Care”.
With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music. All you really need is a few minutes and a place to stretch out.
#6 Sweat it Out
A good workout has been known to alleviate stress; try Zumba, Hot Yoga or Kick-Boxing to knock out anxiety!
Always take a few minutes to think of all the things you are thankful for this Holiday season. Let the family and friends you’re sharing the holiday with know that you appreciate them and are happy to be with them. Put the positive spin on any unforeseen issue that may arise- let’s say you burn the apple pie, no pie ala mode, big deal you’ve still got the ice cream. Your attitude is contagious! A smile is an attribute of a positive attitude. Smiling will go a long way in making your Holiday season Healthy, Happy and Terrific!
Debbie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Delaware and New Jersey and CEO of Total Family Solutions. www.totalfamilysolutions.com