Holiday Stress or Happiness: The Choice is Yours

Holiday Stress or Happiness: A Journey Through the Season

As I approached writing this post I did the usual research. I looked for how to beat the stress of the holiday season, how to coordinate all the gatherings, get the shopping and cooking done and avoid the usual family unpleasantness that is inherent to the holiday season. Something occurred to me. As I read through all the advice on how to get through the season without wearing yourself down, it all seemed so negative. My thought was, “This is supposed to be the happiest season of the year; where did that go?” So rather than provide my usual punch list of things to do or avoid doing, I thought I would provide some thoughts and ideas on how you can make this holiday season what it is supposed to be, the happiest season of the year!

Let me first say I function totally on crossing things off of a list. I literally cannot function without a list, so if this is you too, start your list with the things you want to do this holiday season rather than what you have to get done. Even if you are not a list person I’ll bet you create a holiday to-do list because there is so much to get done. When you write your list with what you want to do you may find that your holiday tasks feel positive. When that is the case, it is not a holiday chore list it is a holiday wish list.

The kick-off to the holiday season is usually decorating. Make sure you plan a weekend to complete your homes holiday transformation. Even if you don’t do a lot of decorating leave the time to take it slow and really enjoy the hanging of the greens. It will mean more to you than just throwing the decorations up. Go ahead and put on that holiday music and start the season with a happy heart.

Since the holidays provide the time to see people that we might not see throughout the year, and since people are the most important part of life, I’d start with a list of people you want to see this holiday season. Organize your list into gatherings, get the invitations out and feel great about connecting with your friends and family. A gathering means a meal or holiday snacks, but that doesn’t need to mean stress. Think about the time of day you want to start your gathering. A start time of 5 pm suggests you are serving dinner and a start time of 7 pm suggests holiday snacks. If serving dinner, consider a simple dish that can be made the day before and just thrown into the oven giving you more time to spend visiting. One of my favorite no-fuss meals that feed a lot of people is rigatoni served with a tossed salad and bread. A holiday snack can be as simple as holiday cookies and a few bowls of your guest’s favorite chips or pretzels. You do not have to be a gourmet chef to have a holiday gathering. Remember it’s about the connection with people, not the food. Also remember, you don’t always have to be the host. Talk with your circle of friends and family and plan out the gatherings together.

So now that we have decorating and gatherings under control, next would come shopping and along with that the financial aspect of the season. Who are you buying gifts for this holiday season? If you find gift giving stressful, is it because you don’t have enough money to make it all go around? Do you think your friends and family want to cause you that stress? Confess and talk over holiday grab bags, buying for just the children, or giving a donation in a family’s name instead of a gift for each member of the family. There are a lot of ways to get creative and lower your holiday gift giving expenses. It’s likely you will be buying for many people so consider on-line shopping. Shop online for the thoughtful gift of health and wellness! It can be completed under the twinkling of your tree with the holiday music playing and can be a totally stress-free experience. After you have completed most of your shopping on-line get out into the hustle and bustle at least once; after all, it is a part of the holiday season. As you watch all the rushed shoppers you can secretly think to yourself, “I only have a few things left to get,” and let your heart be light. Much like your home decorating, leave time to wrap your gifts so you can enjoy making the treasures you are giving a beautiful holiday package instead of merely paper thrown on a box.

The last big holiday task would be the baking of the yummy holiday treats. If baking does not bring you joy, don’t force yourself to do it. Consider joining or creating cookie swaps, make a few and buy a few, or when a guest asks what they can bring make that their contribution. There are always too many cookies to go around during the holiday season, so don’t stress over holiday baking.

The holidays are meant to be a happy time; if you want them to be you have to have the right mindset. Identify what is most important to you, have thoughtful planning, and leave enough time to enjoy the season rather than rush through it.

Now that you are able to frame your holiday season in a positive perspective, top it off by taking care of yourself. The best made plans are when YOU are taken into consideration as well. Consider slowing down, relaxing and having your holiday stress rubbed away. Request your appointment at Vita Massage today!

Happy Holidays to You and Yours

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