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As I’m writing this post, today is November 1st. Wow how this year has flown by! It is that time of year again; we are quickly approaching the holidays. There are mixed feelings about the holidays out there….some love them, some feel overwhelmed and stressed out by them, some flat out dislike them. I personally have a blend of the three feelings about them at various times. But mostly I tend to really enjoy them. I’m going to give you my tips for enjoying the holidays.

The first two tips are pretty equal in importance for enjoying the holidays.

No. 1 – Let go of expectations

No. 2 – Let go of guilt

Let me break it down for ya…..

Expectations 

Expectations will make or break you (not just in this scenario). Let go of preconceived, probably unrealistic, expectations you have of other people. Not putting your expectations of people and situations on to other people will allow the situation to unfold naturally and allow people to be themselves (despite whether you like them as themselves or not, they still are who they are). Set your mind to the fact that people are going to be who they are and know going into it that is what is going to happen and you are going to roll with it and laugh about it. You cannot control people and things outside of you. The only thing you are in control of is you, how you react to situations and people, your attitude, and your perspective. This advice is coming from a recovering control freak, so I know it is possible. If you do not think you are capable of doing this, I’d suggest avoiding the people you find difficult to be around.

No guilt!

Here’s the thing….you cannot be everything all the time to everyone. Anyone who expects that of you is unrealistic and unreasonable. You have the right to say “no”. Particularly during the holidays folks find it difficult to say no. My suggestion is to get really comfortable with say no to people, requests, and activities. You do not have to do them all and you do not have to feel guilty about it. It’s your time and you should spend it however it serves your mental health best.

Now….saying that….this is not a license to be a selfish butt-head. Let’s not do that. But it is a license to protect your time, energy, and sanity against completely unpleasant situations and people. Spend your time with the family and friends you want to spend time with.

Those are the two biggest things that will make the biggest difference for enjoying the holidays.

No. 3 – Plan, Plan, Plan / Be Prepared, Be Prepared, Be Prepared

A well-laid plan and ample preparation will alleviate stress. Even if everything doesn’t go perfectly according to plan….you are prepared!

Now….this one can be difficult for the Type B personality. BUT for us Type As over-planning can create as much stress as not planning at all! Catch-22, I know. Here is what I suggest….

  • Write your obligations on a calendar (paper or electronic) so you can see what you have already committed to. I prefer electronic because I can set reminders and share it with people.
  • As new invitations arise look at the calendar and determine if you have the time and energy to add it; if you do….then do….if you need to switch out one commitment for another…do that. If you need or want to say “No” do that.
  • Figure out what each commitment on the calendar will require of you (travel time and distance, do you need to make or take food with you, etc.) and plan ahead.
    • Buying something to take with you, takes less time than making something yourself. That is what restaurants were designed for!
    • Buy gifts and anything else you can online and have it delivered to your house to save you time and energy.

I highly suggest NOT over booking.

Allow yourself and family time to rest and recover. Rule of thumb, only say yes to one event per weekend. If that isn’t possible for you, then only say yes to one event per day per weekend. If you work full-time (home or office), I usually try and stick to the only one event during the week rule, if any at all.

Selfcare

Take Care of Yourself

I think that people, mostly parents, primarily women fall into doing for others before or instead of taking care of their needs. Stop that! Don’t spread yourself too thin. Taking care of yourself and your mental and physical health is so important. Not only for you, but for those around you. Saying “no” is a good step in this direction.

Take time to have a quite shower or bath. Take time to sit down….rest….watch a show, read a book, listen to music on the patio, or take a nap. If you need to be outside the house to take care of yourself, leave! Turn off your phone….go get a beverage and walk around Hobby Lobby or Target, go walk at a park and listen to a good podcast, read a book in a coffee shop or in a park, get a mani/pedi, go see a movie by yourself or with a girlfriend. Slow down and take some time give to yourself. Check out my self-care post here: What is Self-Care to you?

I think it is more than this….it is also keeping with your movement routine (walks, gym time, workouts) and eating healthy nutritious foods. You don’t have to be perfect! Below are some of my other posts you may find helpful.

Keep yourself physically well during this time. Prioritize sleep.

Here are some of my favorite products that I use daily to keep my immune system healthy and some that I use only if or when I’m feeling like I’m getting sick.

I hope and pray that you stay healthy, happy, and well during a time of year that a lot of folks breakdown emotionally and physically. I hope you find my tips helpful for you to enjoy your holiday season more.

Bring on the holidays!

Next up…..Thanksgiving!