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The holidays are almost here once again. Everywhere you look, there are signs of Christmas to come. And while the season brings us so much joy, it can bring stress, too. As the days until Christmas wind down, we often find ourselves in a mad rush to check off all the things we want to complete during the holidays. There’s Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, greeting cards, holiday celebrations and more. We put so much on our plate to accomplish, that we forget to really relax and enjoy the holidays.
This year, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the holidays, take some time to slow down and fully appreciate the season. Keeping your perspective and focusing on what’s really important can help you find greater happiness and enjoyment as you maneuver through the holidays.
Here are 12 simple strategies for making the 12 days (or more) of Christmas a little less hectic:
1. Stay healthy
Stick to your regular exercise routine, don’t cut back on sleep and limit your sugar and alcohol intake. You’ll feel better and happier and have more energy for holiday fun.
2. Plan ahead
Starting your shopping and decorating early will allow you to relax and enjoy the season without feeling rushed.
3. Don’t be competitive
It’s not about spending as much as everyone else. A thoughtful gift means more than an expensive one. Stick to your budget and avoid stressing over finances.
4. Learn to say “no”
Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Attend the gatherings and events that you can, and politely decline others.
5. Spend time outdoors
Simply being out in the fresh air can improve your mood and help you to relax and appreciate things more. Take a bike ride around your neighborhood, or a hike out in nature.
6. Participate in holiday traditions
Be sure to take time to do the things you love most, whether it’s writing a letter to Santa with the kids, making cookies, writing holiday cards, or admiring your town’s Christmas displays.
7. Live in the moment
Avoid worrying about what you need to do later and focus on the task at hand. If you have trouble doing this, try jotting things down on a “To Do” list to clear your mind.
8. Avoid holiday travel stress
The holidays are one of the worst times of year to travel. But if you must, accept that there may be bumps in the road and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.
9. Delegate holiday jobs
Don’t be afraid to ask for help preparing a holiday meal, wrapping gifts or taking care of other holiday chores. You don’t have to do everything yourself.
10. Stay positive
Family “issues” can sometimes arise at family gatherings. Try to keep things light and civil. If you find yourself discussing an old disagreement, change the subject or go home early.
11. Donate to charity
Christmas is a time of giving, not just to your family and friends but to others, too. Even a small donation to charity will help to remind you what this time of year is really all about.
12. Take time for yourself
Go on a date with your spouse, or take a night to go out with friends. Schedule a massage or go to a movie. Don’t forget to take care of yourself while making the holidays merry for everyone else.
This year, don’t let the hustle and bustle and rush of the holidays get you down. Take time out to enjoy this precious time with your family and friends and concentrate on creating memories that you all will treasure for a lifetime. Because long after all the cards have been sent, the gifts have been opened, and the decorations put away, it’s the time spent together that everyone will remember.