The holiday season is coming soon. What is your reaction? Perhaps you feel excitement at the thought of spending time with family, buying gifts for others, or even the arrival of snow. If you’re like me, you get excited at first but then remember the stress of past holidays and wonder how you can make this year different.
You might feel pressure to get all the food prepared, find the gifts you need, wrap them, decorate, host or visit family, cook a delicious meal complete with Pinterest-worthy holiday desserts, attend church services, volunteer – and the list goes on.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so try these six tips to make this year different.
Start by asking yourself what is most important to you. For example, if finding the perfect gift for your partner is your favorite activity during the holidays, put time and effort into this and let something else go. Maybe skip decorating the porch this year. You can save on electricity and you won’t have to expose yourself to the frigid weather while attempting to hang lights that may or may not actually work.
2. Take a Survey
Ask your partner or family what is most important to them when celebrating holidays. If no one cares about singing carols or shopping on Black Friday, skip it. Pick three things that are most important to your family and only pour your energy into moments that truly matter.
3. Mix it Up
If you normally eat turkey at Thanksgiving because it’s traditional, and you never really liked turkey anyway, make something you actually like – or go out. It is your holiday after all. If the weather is getting to you, travel. If you can’t afford it, plan a fantasy trip and save up to go next year. Traditions can be great, but you can alter them if you find something else that will work better.
4. Let the Joneses Win
No one can accomplish all holiday activities perfectly with enough energy left to actually enjoy the season. If you only focus on the experiences that are important to you rather than what you believe others expect of you, you will likely find more time to enjoy those who matter most to you. Will it really matter if the elf never sits on the shelf? Probably not.
5. Practice Gratitude
This is one of the most effective ways to increase happiness. Make a mental list or write down all the positive experiences you and your family had this year. Meditate on the gifts you already have rather than searching for the next thing that might provide temporary fulfillment.
6. Begin a Restorative Routine
Take time to recharge after a big family event or stressful shopping spree. Put your feet up, watch the snow fall, and sip some hot chocolate. Find what helps you relax and work it into your normal routine. Your partner, children, friends, and even your dog will all benefit from you taking regular breaks to restore your energy. Give the gift that keeps on giving – a healthier you.