How to enjoy the holidays (without going crazy)

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The holiday season is upon us, and boy are we excited! Halloween just came and went, now we get to look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukah. It’s no wonder this is the “Most wonderful time of the year”.

But for many of us, we greet the holiday season with a sense of dread. We think about the money we’ll be spending, all of the relatives and guests we’ll have to host and see for multiple days on end. And don’t forget about all the cooking, decorating, and preparation that goes on.

The holiday season doesn’t need to be stressful, but many of us have let it become just that. Here are some ways to start enjoying the holidays this season without going crazy.

  1. Limit or forgo gifts
    You don’t have to do this, but if buying gifts and receiving them makes your heart race and your palms sweat, maybe this is a good year to start this tradition. Now, it’s harder to do with kids, because they all want tons and tons of gifts. It may be best to ween them off the gifts slowly. If you have very little kids, order a box of toys on eBay and save yourself the hassle of going to the crowded mall. Your family and friends my call you a Scrooge or cheap for doing this, but if it helps relieve some stress, then it’s worth it. Ask friends and family not to give gifts, and if they must they should abide by the 4 gift rule.
    Not only will this help limit the stress of thinking of and buying gifts for others, and receiving things you don’t really need, it will also help you feel relieved when you look at your bank statement on December 26.
  2. Pay attention of bad holiday habits
    This is a tough one, because certain traditions and routines are a staple of the holidays. Many of us don’t stop to think “Why am I going to the mall and stressing myself out just to buy someone a bottle of perfume I don’t even know they’ll like?”
    Think about what caused you stress last year. Was it going to visit family? Was it stuffing yourself for Thanksgiving? Think about these habits and routines that occur during this time of year. Once you acknowledge them, you can start to work on them.

christmas-xmas-christmas-tree-decoration

  1. Set aside “me” time
    You need some time to yourself. If you have family staying at your home, or went to go stay with family, or even if you just need to get away from your own family, do it. Maybe you just need to sit in the park with a nice book, go for a run, take a walk. Whatever it is, do it. It will allow you to reset and feel calm enough to get back into the rush of the holidays.
  2. Say no
    It’s ok to say no sometimes, but many of us feel a sense of guilt when we do. If you have too much on your plate, and a friend asks you to go shopping with them, just let them know this isn’t the best time and that you’d love to reschedule for another time. Saying yes to everything will only continue to add stress to your busy holiday schedule.
  3. Savor little moments
    Stop and take in the holidays. We spend too much time rushing around: the mall, the store, buying a tree, decorating, running to get new Christmas lights, buying last minute gifts, cooking. Many of us don’t stop to take in the holiday season. Sit down with that cup of eggnog or hot chocolate and savor it slowly. Take a stroll down 5th Avenue South here in Naples and enjoy the decorations.
  4. Get some sleep
    It’s never a good idea to run on empty. Sure, it adds hours to our day, but it takes away from our health and well being. Many of us end up grumpy or in sour moods which can ruin the day. It’s best to set a time to sleep and set an alarm for 8-9 hours later if you’re worried about keeping a set schedule.
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