Tis the season to be jolly

The holidays are a time to enjoy and reconnect with friends and family. Sometimes it also means family pressures, travel, visitors, financial worries, and high expectations. We tend to rush all over to find the perfect gift, then have to wrap and hide them. Food needs purchased and invitations sent, then the real work begins. Making incredible meals and not to mention the kitchen clean up. Attending back to back diet busting parties! In the midst of all this chaos we need to take a moment to breathe, take care of ourselves and de-stress during the holidays.

I could tell you to lower your expectation a little and try to “be present in the moment”, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, only do one thing at a time, yoga, meditate and take a thirty minute walk every day. Blah, blah, blah… while this is very good advice, who’s got time for one thing at a time? While I am writing this I’m doing my laundry, thawing out tonight’s dinner, and boiling the turkey carcass from yesterday’s (this year’s fourth) thanksgiving meal.  Wow, let’s face it, we will still try to do all, be all, and preform super hero feats to just see the loved ones eyes light up with pure joy!

Here are some tried and true take care of yourself suggestions:

  1. Take an hour to get a massage or mani/pedi or even float in a sensory deprivation tank during one of your “shopping” trips. Go ahead, tell a little white lie, let the family think you are out buying gifts for them and spoil yourself a little.
  2. Designate one day as a ‘no work’ day. Order out food and watch ELF or rent the latest funny movie. Laughter is truly good medicine. Pizza or TV dinners, while not the healthiest can give you the time to put your feet up. Our family loves to take out Thai food, not to mention, it’s a nice break from traditional holiday left overs.
  3. Getting all nutrients you need. Hours in the kitchen can drain you. Keep hydrated, drink lots of water. This is probably the best time to remember to take your vitamins. When swamped with baking you forget to eat properly.
  4. Assign task to family members. My hubs is always asking what he can do to help while I’m cooking. Usually I say I got it, but during the holiday chaos I make sure to give him some of my least favorite task, like washing and peeling potatoes. Teens are old enough to wash dishes and clean kitchens. Even little ones like to help sweep the floor.
  5. Hire a service to clean the house from top to bottom. With all that’s going on in the kitchen how else can you address those dust bunnies on top of the TV?
  6. Make a ‘not-to-do’ list. The first year I did this I decided it was the best kept secret! Each year I have added to it. Ever hear that less is more. It is so true! When first married, we used to travel to all the grandparents and parents homes during the holidays. After being stranded on a snowy highway with a flat at 3am Christmas morning I decided its time to enjoy our tree and watching children opening gifts at home. We stay in PJ’s all day and play. With grandchildren of our own we know the stress and celebrate ‘Christmas in July’ and you know they love the idea of celebrating twice a year.
  7. Turn off the ‘on demand’ on your life.  With our society full of all the modern conveniences and being electronically driven we tend to have notifications for everything. For some people it can be a source of frustration, anxiety or just plain distraction by being constantly interrupted by flow of messages, demands.  Turning off notifications for email and social media during the holidays can allow peaceful bliss.
  8. Attitude of gratitude. Take a few minutes every day, write a gratitude list. Great reminder to self of what the holidays are really about. It’s not about the food, presents, or the parties. I’m so thankful for my Family, shelter from the rain, our little farm and the rain that provides the food, and Friends, our Ohana   …I’m blessed beyond measure!