The Holidays Are Upon Us

Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is approaching and it’s a wonderful opportunity to remember everything we’re grateful for including the people we have shared a delicious meal with. This tradition of Thanksgiving began in 1621 with the Pilgrims, the early settlers in the state of Massachusetts, after their first harvest. It became a national holiday in 1789 and marks the beginning of the holidays in the US.

In our already busy lives, the holidays are often a time of more stress rather than more joy and fun.  Buying presents can stretch the family budget, demands on time increase and family gatherings can be a challenge. This year simplify your life with these tips and enjoy the season more!

1. Begin with affirmations that this season is a fun and enjoyable time for you and your family. When you become aware of any negative thoughts about the holidays, tell yourself, ‘stop!’ Affirm that everything will get done easily.

2. Practice stress management! Remember to breathe deeply and easily, letting your shoulders, neck, and back relax and let go. Practice rhythmic breathing to activate your parasympathetic system; this will help you to relax.

3. During the holidays the average person gains 5 pounds and then has to do a New Year’s Resolution to lose them! Set an intention to maintain your weight. Plan lower calorie desserts or don’t even serve a dessert. Eat less the day before you are going to a party or big meal. Do simple things to move more, like dancing to your favorite songs or parking at the end of the parking lot so you walk more.

4. Simplify your gift giving by setting a theme. For example, make this a movie year where you purchase movie passes, a subscription to Netflix or Amazon Prime or purchase gift certificates online for an upcoming show. You can do all your shopping at one place! Now that’s really easy!

5. Rather than buying gifts for friends, suggest that you spend time with each other instead. Go to a movie or share a meal. You’ll save hours of trying to decide what they want, shopping, wrapping, etc.

6. One poll discovered that 83% of all Americans (and I’m sure this is true of people in many other countries as well) wanted more time to spend with their families. Set a time to go to a fun holiday activity with your family and consider it as a present to each other.

7. Set a budget for not only gift giving but decorating and entertaining as well and stick with it. In January you’ll be glad you did.

8. If family gatherings are something you look forward to, wonderful!! However, if they tend to be a challenge, prepare emotionally ahead of time. Visualize yourself staying calm. Remember DTIP: Don’t Take It Personally.

9. Contribute to a community agency that is helping others with food and presents during the holidays. Volunteer to help deliver, wrap or purchase for them, you’ll be touched and humbled.

10. Plan ahead. Make a list of priorities and stay focused on them. Spend a few minutes at night deciding what’s most important to get done the next day. Be reasonable in your expectations! Set boundaries for yourself. It’s OK to say no to something you don’t want to do. Respect your own need for time.

11. Remember that letting someone know you care is the greatest gift of all. This season, say I love you as much as possible to family and friends. Let people know why they are special to you. And also remember to love and appreciate yourself.