Simplifying Your Holidays

November is already upon us, and before we know it, we’ll be caught up in the holiday season whirlwind. While many of us dream about peaceful family gatherings, celebratory parties, sipping on warm apple cider, and opening our favorite gifts; the holidays frequently do not turn out this way. Last minute holiday shopping, fighting frenzied crowds, running low on cash and being pulled in a million different directions can quickly damper any cheerful holiday spirit. However, PEACE on earth is not entirely out of the question if you follow these simple holiday survival tips:

Plan ahead – Dashing through the mall at the last minute does not set the tone for a calm holiday season. So plan ahead by figuring out what gifts you want to purchase for loved ones prior to fighting holiday crowds. Stay organized and make lists to avoid forgetting items and having to return to previously visited stores. If you are ordering online, make sure you do so well in advance to avoid delays or excessive postage. Planning a party? Send out invites as soon as possible before everyone’s calendars fill up. Try to block off multiple dates in your calendar to do your holiday shopping in order to avoid the stress of crunch time. Remember, the early bird catches the mistletoe!!

Establish a budget – The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time and financial stress can ruin anyone’s spirits. It’s important to know your limits and to not financially overextend yourself. Creating a budget and sticking to it is critical. Perhaps speak with family about simplifying gift exchanges or get creative by making crafty gifts, baking delicious treats or simply writing someone a meaningful card. Remember abundance does not equate to happiness!!

Ask for help – Many of us struggle to ask for help, end up taking everything on ourselves and quickly find ourselves angry, resentful and burned out. The holidays are as good a time as any to practice communicating effectively and asking for help. If you are hosting a party, consider doing a pot luck instead of taking everything on. Hiring help can also alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy your guests. Wrapping gifts can be tedious so why not ask your significant other to help? (This could also provide an opportunity to bond and connect). Remember to divide and conquer. After all, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!!

Communicate honestly and say NO by not overcommitting to social functions. Stay organized by marking dates in a social calendar and taking care of yourself by carefully selecting what social events you commit to. The holidays are a time to slow down and rejuvenate. Who wants to begin the New Year burned out and exhausted? Remember, sometimes less is more!!

Exhale – Building in down time, moments of reflection, deep breathing, yoga, meditation and gratitude practices can help us regroup and ground amidst the holiday chaos. Taking that needed pause will help us stay emotionally regulated and more effective in accomplishing everything we need to do. Remember, a relaxed body equates to a relaxed mind and a more joyous holiday season!!

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