Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Surviving the Holidays

We are told “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  I have found through the years that this is true for very few people.  The holidays are stressful and there is pressure from a variety of sources including friends, family, the media and others to spend money we may or may not have, party and damn it, BE HAPPY.  The minute I’m pressured to be something is the time I fail utterly.

The following are some suggestions on how to get through the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s with as much grace and as little pain as possible.

For Singles.  For Those Visiting Family.

1. Keep a sense of humor.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with making fun of the fact that you are supposed to be happy, filled with the milk of human kindness and surrounded by fuzzy warm friends, family and feelings.  I’m all for helping others and I do think that when you spend time helping others it does make the world a better place.  But you can’t help others if you aren’t in a good place yourself.  So do whatever you need to do to comfort and care for your self and I find that laughter is a great tool in surviving the holidays.

2. Watch some fun movies.

Go for really silly, funny movies.  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, “Elf”, “Scrooged” with Bill Murray, “Groundhogs Day”, or watch cartoons, or go to a galaxy far far away and watch “Star Wars”.  I find sometimes when I really want to escape a good science fiction adventure movie is the best thing to take me away.

3. Eat Good Food.

The holidays are full of sugar.  I’m not saying don’t indulge a little.  Just make sure it’s a little.  You can eat one cookie instead of ten.  You can have the pie without the ice cream or instead of another serving of mashed potatoes.  Be wise and go with moderation.  Just be aware that what you eat can affect your mood.  So be selective. Have smaller portions and don’t waste calories on anything that doesn’t taste absolutely wonderful.  Surviving the holidays by eating well - save those calories for your favorites.

4. Exercise.

I know you are saying “I don’t have time!”.  Park far away from the store where you are going shopping.  Walk all the way around the mall once, before going and diving into the major shopping.  Take a walk after the meal at the restaurant.  Take the stairs instead of the escalator.  Do sit-ups or stretches for ten-twenty minutes while you watch the movie or TV.  Keep an elastic band at your desk and actually take that 15 minute break and do some arm curls.  Are you at the computer every day?  stretch your legs in front of you under the desk and hold them there for a count of ten.  Do this ten times.  Exercise is essential for surviving the holidays.

5. Get plenty of sleep.

Whether you are spending the holidays rushing around doing all of your usual things or planning ahead for what to do with your alone time, sleep is essential.  Schedule in your sleep time first when you plan out your day.  If you are too tired to think straight, you cannot get anything done efficiently and perhaps not even done at all.

6. Just Say No.

The number one rule for surviving the holidays is remembering that you can always say “No” to anything you don’t really want to do.  If you are too stressed, too over committed, or just too overwhelmed to take on one more thing. “No, I can’t bake cookies for the party.” “No, I can’t make the office party because I’m getting together to bake cookies with my neighbor for my kid’s class party.” “No, I can’t make it to church today; I’m exhausted and I need the sleep.”  You don’t even have to explain why if you don’t want to.  You are surviving the holidays with grace.  You are an adult and you can make your own decisions.  It’s ok to say no.  It’s part of taking care of yourself.

7. Forget trying to make things perfect.

Perfection is unattainable.  You won’t always be able to find the gift that is going to mean more to this person than anything else they got.  The dinner may not be perfect.  Someone may get a cold.  Someone may say the wrong thing.  Try to let things go.  The printer may not work when you want to print your Holiday letter and you may have to email it to work to print it, or take it to Kinko’s.  Surviving the holidays is about being flexible and allow things to happen naturally.

8. Avoid too much alcohol.

I know there are a dozen parties.  But remember to have a glass of water in between each drink.  Drinking too much alcohol will not help regulate your moods over this holiday and won’t make all the stress go away.  It may even make it worse and it’ll definitely give you a headache the next day which will make getting through the next day’s events harder.

9. Send cards or e-cards.

Many of us are feeling the weight of money troubles these days.  Instead of buying lots of gifts.  Send cards or e-cards to your friends and family.  Make calls if you can’t visit.  I like Rubber Chicken Cards and Jib Jab.

10. Elf yourself.

This is a really funny thing you can do for no money and send to all your friends.


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