For many, and to some people’s dismay, our biggest holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year, I think you get the point) are right around the corner. I saw my first Christmas wreath in September this year, which I think is a record of some kind! There is a lot of excitement around this time of year, especially from children. However we are not so excited about the stress that so often accompanies the holidays. From the first toy catalog in the mail signaling a time to begin the harried shopping, to cleaning the house after everyone leaves your holiday celebration, there is plenty of stress to go around.

 

Would you believe me if I told you it does not have to be that way? We can get so caught up in trying to make everything perfect and get everything done that we forget the real reason for the occasion; to celebrate time with our loved ones, family and good friends.

 

So how can we bring joy back into the holidays? With the following helpful hints you can reclaim the joy the holidays have to offer, while leaving some of the stress behind.

 

  1. Get Rid of the “shoulds”…decide what you really want to do this holiday and what things you are willing to let go. For example, one year my family and I took a holiday vacation. Afterwards, we discussed what we really missed, the homemade cookies, and what we did not need to do anymore, a tree surrounded by presents.
  2. Practice Mindfulness …Each day, especially when the actual holi-day itself arrives, take time to look around you, really see the shining beauty, hear the joyful sounds and inhale the yummy aromas…and truly enjoy each moment.
  3. Be Grateful… Some people find it helpful to start off their day or end their day with writing down 5 new things they are thankful for. When we are grateful, it is hard to also be stressed out.
  4. Tune into your stress indicators…Be aware of how stress manifests for you…tightness in your neck and shoulders?  Restless or agitated sleep at night?  Irritability with family?  Digestion or stomach issues?  Headaches?  When you feel your particular stress flags flying, understand that those are signals your body is giving you …in essence those symptoms are your body’s way of saying “slow down, and take a break.”  Listen to your body, take a break and come back to the holiday project latler, after you taken some down to relax.  (As in step away from those jumbled knotted xmas tree lights slowly and nobody will get hurt 🙂

Remember, these changes will take some practice and multiple reminders to yourself. It is okay to be stressed out once in awhile, we are all human.  Be gentle with yourself, forgive yourself if you slip up, regroup and try again. Then enjoy your holidays this year and for many years to come!Warmest wishes this holiday season ~Kaitlyn