It's hard to believe that December is already here. The holiday season can be a wonderful season, but it can also be a crazy season. The media has really taken over. Stores open on Thanksgiving, sales everywhere and lines of people waiting to buy that one last gift. Sometimes, we are so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget about ourselves. This can also be a time where people get run down and stressed out. Here are five tips that will help make the holidays more enjoyable:
- Loneliness? Plan a date with You. Many people don't have family to spend the holidays with. If this is the case for you, then treat yourself to something you normally wouldn't do. Help the less fortunate and volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Find an organization to go caroling with or go to church.
- Gifting on a budget. Take advantage of this time to get in touch with your creative side. Hand crafted gifts can be more cherished than store bought gifts. Baking, knitting, homemade art and framed photo cards are a few examples of inexpensive, yet very thoughtful gifts.
- Social Anxiety? Plan ahead. Many parties allow you to bring a plus one, don't hesitate to bring your partner and if you are single invite a friend. When you are at the party ask open-ended questions, such as: "Where are you spending the holidays?" How do you know the host?" Have you done all your shopping yet?" Don't be afraid to give a compliment. Most importantly, take an interest in the person you are talking to, listen and reply to what is being said.
- Yummy Munchies. Got a special diet? Find out ahead of time what will be served. If the items being served don't suite you, then offer to bring a dish which matches your "dietary requirements." The holidays are no different than any other day. Try and stay as close to your regular exercise regimen as possible. Some exercise is always better than none. Similarly, a rigid meal plan is always a recipe for disaster. Unless you have a life threatening condition or food allergies, allow yourself to enjoy holiday treats - within moderation, of course. If you blow it, then start the next day fresh. Remember, each day is a new beginning.
- Seeing your own family . . . Yikes! Remember, no family is perfect. So, stop stressing out about yours. The reality is family will always be family, along with their annoying habits, embarrassing stories and complex dynamics. But, not to worry, you can prepare yourself mentally, beforehand. Practice relaxation exercises, mindful meditations and pray. Give yourself an escape route, like a walk around the block, if you need a break. And, remember the holidays don't last forever.