Here are 12 ways to make sure you are prepared and able enjoy your Christmas holidays this year…
12 Days of Christmas – Preparation Tactics
- Manage your time: The holiday season is always one of high demand. Being able to prepare and effectively manage your time during this period can help to lessen stress and make events more pleasurable. Figure out your goals and work backwards to outline all that you need to accomplish. Create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible in order to reduce stress or panic during this hectic time.
- Keep a routine: Christmas holidays are exciting, and too often our regular routines are thrown to the wind. With breaks from work, family visits and various events, we are often running around without any direction. Try to stick to your regular routine as much as possible, especially if you have kids; this will help reduce stress and keep you organized.
- Exercise: Obviously we all know the effect that holiday dinners can have on a waist line, but there is more than one reason to workout this holiday season. Exercise will help to keep you energized so you can tackle all the tree trimming, and battle the chaos at the local malls. Be sure to fit some fitness into your holiday routine so that you are energized and healthy, and of course so you can have that extra cupcake or two!
- Give into temptation: If you have ever attempted a diet during the holiday’s you know how hard it can be to stick to your plan. Being constantly surrounded by glorious food can make it almost impossible to avoid slipping up, so don’t even try. Instead, give in to temptation in moderation. Allow yourself a treat or two without feeling like you have failed. The holiday season is about celebration and enjoyment, and no one is going to be happy standing in a corner nibbling carrots when all they really want is that piece of cake. If you treat yourself in moderation, you can truly have your cake and eat it too without any guilt at all.
- Connect: The holidays are about spending time with friends and family, and while this is not always a good thing, it can be beneficial to your mood. If you have to spend time with people who you are not looking forward to seeing, counteract it by connecting with friends you have truly enjoy. Set up a girls night, or have brunch with your best friend to prepare you for, or calm you after, a difficult visit with the in-laws.
- Prepare for stress: Stress and Christmas go hand-in-hand. There is really no avoiding it during the holiday season. But, that doesn’t mean that it has to affect you to the point that you feel like running away to a foreign country never to celebrate the holidays again. Instead be prepared for stress by knowing the triggers and finding ways to deal with them. If it is certain people who affect you, try to limit exposure. If you have too much to do, break it down into smaller tasks. When we prepare for stress it loses its power.
- Go easy on the eggnog: Alcohol is everywhere during the holidays, and while a good glass of wine or a cup of spiked nog can be a great treat it is important that you remember alcohol will increase your stress. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume at parties and gatherings in order to keep yourself in high spirits and able to tackle the challenges of the season.
- Don’t give into pressure: Holidays are full of pressure at every turn. Pressure from people to attend various events, pressure from family to visit, pressure at work to complete tasks, and pressure from stores to buy their products. Don’t give in to the pressure that surrounds you. Embrace your ability to say “NO” and do it as often as you have to. Do not feel bad for not attending every Christmas party you are invited to, or for not driving across country to see you brother in-law. If it stresses you out and you would rather not do it, then don’t. It is that simple.
- Ask for help: Do not be afraid to ask for help this holiday season. Too often we try to do everything ourselves and end up an absolute mess. Turn to friends and family for support when you need it, especially if you are planning a big event of family gathering. Consider turning it into a potluck to lighten the load, or organize a gift exchange to make shopping easier on everyone.
- Stick to a budget: Nothing diminishes faster during the holidays than our bank accounts. If money is already tight, which it is for many of us, the holidays can seem very daunting and almost impossible to achieve. For those with children the stress can be enormous, especially with today’s technology and its added expenses. The only way to combat this type of stress is to create a budget and stick to it. Sit down before beginning your shopping and decide how much you have to spend in total and then break it down to each person you are buying for. Stick to this plan as much as you possibly can. One way to do this is by placing the money in a separate account only for shopping, or using cash; this way when the funds run out your shopping is done.
- Celebrate yourself: Don’t forget to celebrate yourself this season. Too often we are focused on everyone else during the holidays, and while it is better to give than to receive, it is also nice to receive sometimes too. Get yourself something special that you have been wanting, even if you can only afford something small. It is important that we take time to celebrate ourselves, especially during a time that is so focused on others. Time during the holidays can quickly fly by and before you know it you are back to the daily grind, so take a second or two to enjoy yourself, and celebrate being you.
- Focus on the positive: The most important tip to remember during the Christmas season is to stay positive. Whether you celebrate Christmas itself, Hanukkah, or some other festivity, the lesson that lies within these celebrations is one of love and compassion for others. Not everyone loves the idea of the holidays and the consumer aspects it entails, but the message that is underneath all the gift wrap and chaos is what needs to be remembered… and that lesson is positivity, happiness, and love.
Until Next Time…
Be prepared and just do your best.