Monday, 01 December 2014 10:30

Caring For Yourself: 5 Ways to Create the Holidays You Desire

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December is here, and with it comes thirty-one (31) days of trying to balance your regular responsibilities with all of the holiday hoopla.  While the greeting card companies and made for television movies may have us believe the holidays are all about peaceful nights by the fireplace with hot chocolate and warm sleeping puppies, for most folks that is rarely the case.  Unfortunately, with all of the expectations and commercialism December involves, a lot of people find themselves stressed out and overwhelmed before it even begins.  We are here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like that this year, and you can make the holidays be whatever you want them to be.  You can begin by making a commitment to practice self-care this month instead of getting sucked into the chaos.

The first step is to really think about what the holidays have been for you in the past, and what you would like them to be now.  Is there a disconnect?  Are you looking for something more manageable, less stressful, and less costly?  If so, it is time to set reasonable expectations for yourself and the month ahead.  Once you know what you want your holiday season to look like, there are lots of things you can do to make it happen.  Instead of running yourself ragged this month, try some of the following tips to take care of yourself and create the holidays you desire.  

 

  • Don’t give in to “tradition” if it doesn’t have meaning to you or your family.  Just because something has always been done a certain way at the holidays, that doesn’t mean it has to continue.  Decide early in December what you want the holidays to be like this year, and create your vision. 
  • Make sure to schedule time for yourself.  There are all kinds of special events in December: school concerts, office parties, recitals, neighborhood parties, and the like.  Decide what is most important to you and your family.  You don’t have to attend every event you are invited to.  Choose one or two things you truly want to do, and send regrets for the others.
  • Set a budget for the holidays that includes gifts, food, and entertainment, and stick to it.  Nobody needs buyer’s remorse when the credit card bills come rolling in during January. Better yet use cash and no credit cards.  Know what you can spend before you shop so you celebrate within your means. Don’t spend what you don’t have.
  • Make a decision to simplify gift giving.  If you have a large, extended family suggest a name drawing approach.  That way each person will only buy for one other person.  Or, decide that only kids will get gifts this year.  Either way, set a reasonable price limit.  If some of your gift giving seems more like an obligation than something you genuinely want to do, consider removing some folks from the list.  Does Great Aunt Pat in Idaho really need another sweater?  A short, hand-written letter with some pictures would probably be enjoyed a whole lot more.
  • Shop locally.  There are lots of nice stores that have a wide variety of interesting and unique gifts.  Not only are you supporting your local community, but you will avoid the stress and hassle of the big box stores and malls.
  • Instead of giving a tangible gift to older folks or those who really don’t need anything, consider making a charitable donation in their name.  Choose an organization you feel they would support as well.  Or, give the gift of your time instead.  Coupons for a homemade dinner or an evening out can be cashed in after the holidays.

No matter how you decide to celebrate the holidays this year, make taking care of your body and mind a priority.  When you don’t feel your best it is easier to give in to cravings, guilt, over-spending, and other forms of holiday temptation.  Continue to eat healthy meals and snacks, drink lots of water, exercise, and get plenty of sleep.  Take time for yourself to relax and do the things that bring you joy.  Listen to calming music, do some gentle stretches, and drink your favorite tea.  The more you can center yourself in a relaxed frame of mind, the closer you will be to experiencing the holidays the way you truly want them to be.

If you are going to attend holiday parties or other events this month, tune in next time, as we will share some strategies for healthy eating.

                                    Until next time,

Health and Healing the Simple Way!

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