Saturday, November 12, 2011

PROBLEM: The holidays are here. Time is limited. You are doing too much and the demands of the holiday season are exhausting you.

Don’t try to do it all. You may be capable of doing it all – but who says you have to? Prioritize what is most important. The number one priority is your immunity and your health.

It is flu season and this is the time when a lot of people get sick because they try to do too much. If you are feeling fatigued or a bit sluggish – REST and take care of yourself, first. You can’t very well accomplish anything if you are ill. So put yourself, rest and health at the top of your list and you’ll be able to tackle the holidays easier.

• Actual time with family and friends is what the season is about. No one will care if you get the ‘perfect gift’ or send out 500 holiday cards, have the hottest holiday party or decorate your house in festive décor. No one will care if you have a large spread of traditional favorites or tacos… the main thing is putting the holiday in perspective. Time with those you love, is what will be remembered most of all.

• Do something to give yourself a ‘time out’ – if your schedule seems to be getting overloaded. You will be surprised how a 15 minute walk or a 20 minute nap or sitting quietly with a cup of cocoa and a good book even for just 30 minutes a day, will help you ‘chill out’ when stress gets the best of you. We often forget to ‘unplug’ ourselves from the chaos of the season. By honoring ourselves just a little each day, we’re better equipped for handling the extra demands of the season.

• Learn to be honest. Sometimes we feel guilty if we pass on an invitation or decline participating in holiday activities. But the truth is, sometimes we end up overdoing and overextending. The end result is resentment. Have you ever wondered why the holidays are the time when there are more family disagreements?

Most miscommunication is ‘assuming’ or having ‘expectations’ of ourselves and others. This only causes more stress for everyone. If something feels ‘forced,’ we really won’t show up as our best selves. We won’t have a good time or enjoy what the season is about. If you don’t have it in you to make 12 trips to the airport to pick up relatives or if you just can’t afford to do all the gift-giving that you think you have to do or you’ll be judged, sometimes just being honest about your current position is really the best.

Don’t be embarrassed. Right now it is a tough economic time for everyone. Instead, do something different. Suggest a pot luck gathering and a night of board games or do a 99 cent store gag gift. Or have each person buy a 1 dollar lottery ticket scratcher and draw them out of a hat while everyone just enjoys cookies and music. You can have affordable fun in a non-traditional way and everyone can feel at ease.

• Take time to listen to others. Most of the time when we are rushed during the hectic holiday season, we often miss what is truly being said. Holidays are difficult for a lot of people. And if we take the time to be a good friend to someone feeling low; or volunteer at a soup kitchen or take time to do holiday crafts with folks at the senior center or go hold puppies at the pound and show them love, sometimes this is the best way to honor the true meaning of the holidays. By doing this, we honor ourselves by slowing down and give others the true meaning of the spirit of the season.


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