The holidays are wonderful. Family, friends, snowy cozy evenings...
Unfortunately they can also be as stressful as they are enjoyable.
But it doesn't have to be that way!
MM: Reducing Stress over the Holidays
Skip the presents
- If you've never done the whole "no presents" thing, and can't imagine Christmas without it, but feel overwhelmed with all the buying...trust me, it's pretty liberating and worth a shot. The "loss" of gift giving & receiving is easily replaced with no more fighting your way through busy malls and stores with crazy drivers, and long line-ups. And also, the focus shifts to hanging out with friends and family. I'll admit, it does feel a bit strange at first, but honestly, you just get over it, and a lot quicker than you'd think.
- Give the gift of you instead! Spend time with the people you care about...at the end of the day, that is much more important than anything you could wrap up.
Don't worry about so much about your eats
- If you're on a strict healing diet, then obviously, follow your docs / health counselor's guidelines... but being stressed out about or with food over the holidays simply adds stress to your day. And stress shuts down your digestive system.
- So, eat your best when you can, and enjoy out of the norm treats when you feel like it. ENJOY being the key word here! Savour your indulgences. And then move on. Don't worry or over think them. Just enjoy & move on.
- A few treats enjoyed here and there sprinkled into your regular diet will allow you to enjoy the season without being overly restrictive. You are much less likely to go crazy binging if you just follow your cravings responsibly.
Find & then do some holiday activities that you like
- Whether it's ice skating, going for a snowy (or ocean) walk, making crafts, sledding, Christmas movie marathons, or playing board games...putting some energy into enjoyable activities will help reduce stress, as it will help to engage you with that feeling of "joy", and will be a great distraction from your to-do list.
Buy the best quality ingredients, that you budget can afford
- As I mentioned above, don't worry so much about having some treats here and there...but if you can (and ONLY if it doesn't add any stress) think about quality.
- Christmas cookies baked by my mom or nana are absolutely worth a splurge for me... packaged christmas cookies from the grocery store aren't. To each their own...all I'm trying to say is: try to enjoy and savour the highest quality of whatever it is you want to splurge on.
- Love chocolate? Get some GOOD chocolate!! Want a boozy treat? Buy some high quality wine or whatever you like. Love cookies? Make some with your friends! Need some cheese & crackers? Put down the kraft singles and buy some high quality cheese, and good crackers. Go all out, and enjoy the whole decadent experience of acquiring and enjoying high quality food.
- Usually higher quality treats are more satisfying because your body actually recognizes it as something edible versus strange substances that it doesn't know how to process.
Don't sacrifice your routine
- Routines are very very important.
- If you've found certain things that make you happy and feel your best...continue doing them over the holidays.
- If you continue on with your regular routine, but throw in a few parties, treats, and activities here and there, you will still feel great! In my experience, sacrificing your whole routine and just giving up over the holidays does not make you feel so great.
Put effort into the experience
- It is worth the effort to make a nice table setting, spend time getting dressed up nicely, and doing fun things.
- Don't just focus on the "what" focus on the "how".
- Okay, so we're going to have 10 people over for dinner (the what)...let's make it enjoyable in all aspects, from start to finish (the how): think happy thoughts while you're cooking & your food will taste better (it's true!), envision your guests sitting at your table and set up the prettiest table you've ever seen, put on some nice music, light some candles, and simply savour and be in the moment for the whole experience. Don't just rush towards the goal of getting everything done.
Okay friends, I wish you a truly magical Christmas and holidays and am sending each of you a giant hug! Feel free to share any holiday survival tips you've gathered over the years in the comments below.