The gift of choice: Loading up on obligations, or spending time with people you don’t really want to, sets yourself up for stressful situations. Give yourself the gift of choice so when you do accept an invitation, help someone out, invite people over for dinner or choose to buy presents – you will be happy in the knowledge that you gave yourself the gift of choice and you’ll be more likely to experience these events joyfully.
Imperfection: The holiday season can be stressful enough without the added pressure of having to have the food, the gifts, the decorations, or anything else be ‘perfect’. So you burned the cookies or forgot to get the greeting cards out in time? Lucky for you, cookies abound at most grocery stores around the holidays. And who wouldn’t rather hear from you in February with a funny tale about a smoked-out kitchen on Christmas Eve? Strive to do the best you can and you’ll realize that it is enough.
Do what you like and like what you do: You’ve heard the saying before but most of us don’t adhere to the message. Do the things that make you feel good – play a musical instrument, meditate, read a book, run, etc. And be mindful when you’re doing them. Rushing to fit in ‘you’ time isn’t the same as slowing down to appreciate the few moments you have to do what you like to do. Savor the moments.
Keep balance and set priorities: When you prioritize what’s most important to you, you’ll have an easier time balancing your work, play, family and social life. Everything else becomes secondary. Be aware of situations that trigger tension and keep them off of your priority list!
Keep it simple: From cooking, planning and decorating to invitation lists and shopping, one thing is for sure – keep it simple. The idea of baking cookies or illuminating the street with holiday lights can sound comforting and festive. But actually doing these things can simply get complicated. Keep it simple. Adorn a single tree. Put lights on the front porch – but don’t commit to lighting up the street and lamp posts. Keep your meals simple and ask others to pitch in by bringing their favorite dish. Do what you can to minimize your ‘to do’ list so you spend more time with loved ones – and in better balance.
Be honest: Being honest with yourself and others helps you from over extending yourself physically, financially and emotionally. Learn to graciously decline invitations and feel comfortable offering suggestions for price limits on gifts. Others will likely appreciate the input, too!