Written by: Claudia Haller NBC-HWC
It’s officially November! If you’re anything like my daughter, your mind has skipped right past Thanksgiving and launched forward to the Holidays. While my daughter finds comfort in Christmas movies on Halloween, I’m guessing your outlook on the upcoming season might be a little bit less optimistic. The holidays are a great time for family and friends, but they are often accompanied by stress. Lots and lots of stress.
Between buying the perfect gift, attending holiday parties, and dealing with family dynamics, it's easy to let the holidays get the best of you. But it doesn't have to be that way! I know you think it’s impossible, but there is a way that you can enjoy the holidays just like you once did. With a bit of planning and a positive attitude, you can actually enjoy yourself this holiday season. Here's how:
Create a budget—and stick to it.
One of the most significant sources of stress is money, especially when it comes to the holidays. Money worries can easily put a damper on the season if you're anxious about affording gifts for your loved ones or putting food on the table for your holiday party.
The best way to combat this stress is to create a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you're willing to spend on each person on your list, and then find creative ways to stay within that budget. For example, propose that your friend group participate in a Secret Santa with a limited budget; there ought to be someone else who will thank you! You can also try making homemade gifts; just because a gift is not extremely expensive does not mean it is not valuable.
Plan ahead—but be flexible.
Another significant source of holiday stress is simply trying to do too much in too little time. If you're constantly running around trying to fulfill the roles of a working mom, housewife, friend, professional chef and elf, you are not going to enjoy yourself. Rushing to finish all your shopping, cooking, and wrapping at the last minute, definitely doesn’t leave you any space to enjoy the magic of the holidays!
To avoid this stress, try planning as much as possible, within reason. Make lists of people you need to buy gifts for, recipes you would like to make, and errands you need to run so that you can stay organized and on track. That being said, it’s important that you leave wiggle room. The holidays are about spending time with loved ones, not crossing items off your to-do list. So if things don't go according to plan, don't sweat it—the important thing is that you're present in the moments that you are with people who care about you.
Take some time for yourself.
The holidays are made special by the people that you surround yourself with. However, all of this time socializing can be overwhelming, so take some time out for yourself. Whether it's getting some extra sleep, taking a long bath, or reading your favorite book by the fire, taking some time out for yourself is crucial. Self-care is a non-negotiable priority in all seasons of life, but it is especially necessary around the holidays.
If your self-care routine can include physical activity, that’s even better! Staying active is key to maintaining your mental and physical well-being, and any form of movement helps. A short high-intensity class, a simple stay-at-home workout, a nature walk, a yoga session or even a meditation can do the trick. Taking time for yourself will help reduce your stress levels and give you the energy you need not only to get through the rest of the holiday season but to enjoy it.
Be mindful of the magic around you.
Mindfulness and being present in the moment is the best way to embrace all of the magic of the holiday season. In these next two months, try to include a daily practice of gratitude in your routine. This can be done through journaling or simply reflecting on the positive aspects of each day while winding down. When eating at holiday gatherings, savor each bite and be conscious of portion sizes so that you prevent overeating. Gratitude and mindfulness help you shift the focus away from stressors of the present moment and promote a positive mindset to sustain you for the rest of the season.
Other tools of mindfulness that can be powerful in reducing stress levels include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and guided meditation. In the spirit of protecting your mental health, it’s important that you learn to set boundaries and say “no”. Whether it’s food or festivities, remember that everything is best in moderation and balance.
Go ahead and set your New Year goals now.
As the holidays approach, set aside some time to reflect on the past year. What went well? What could have been better? What did you learn? These insights can help you make more informed choices as you move into the new year.
Afterwards, take some time to plan ahead. Getting your New Year's resolutions sorted ahead of time is especially important if you're hoping to make changes in your life or achieve specific goals. By taking a few minutes to think about what you want to accomplish, you can develop a concrete plan that will help you stay on track. As you enjoy the holiday season, take a little time to prepare for the future. I promise it will pay off in the long run.
The holidays do not have to be and should not be stressful. Just remember to create a budget, plan ahead, take some time out for yourself, and practice mindfulness. The most important part of this season is being present and enjoying every minute. With these practices, you'll be sure to have a cozy and joyful holiday season.
Gratitude journaling is not only important during the Thanksgiving season or the holidays. When practiced all year round, gratitude can actually transform your health. Check out our blog on the importance and impacts of gratitude here:
I love to indulge in seasonal treats during the holiday season. However, overeating can throw your health goals into a spiral. Mindful eating is especially important during the holidays. Here are a few tips on how to prioritize your wellness in the winter ahead.
Claudia is an NBC-HWC Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, the owner of Vibrant Health by Claudia LLC and Virtual Health Coaches LLC. She studied health and wellness coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she also completed courses in Gut Health, Hormone Health, and Advanced Coaching. She is a certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach as well as a co-author of two Amazon Bestsellers “The Ultimate Guide to creating your soul aligned Business” and “The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a successful soul professional”.
To schedule a time for a free information call click here or join her Vibrant Health Power Community - a free Facebook Group - here.
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