The holiday season is upon us, and that means family gatherings, office parties, cooking, shopping and travel. But oftentimes, in all the frenzy and frivolity, we end up so tired and grumpy that we feel like the Grinch. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the days ahead, not dread them.
Embrace "good is good enough." If you are like most people, you put higher expectations on yourself than others do. Don't stress over making your decorations look like Martha Stewart's, or your pies like Julia Child's. Perfect is the enemy of great, and becoming obsessed with perfection causes you to miss out on so many really good things about life. If your centerpiece isn't just perfect or your rolls are flat, will that really be important a year from now? Laugh about your mistakes and acknowledge them as minor bumps in your amazing life journey.
Nurture yourself first. This is often the hardest thing for women, because we are naturally givers and want to make sure everyone else is happy and well cared for, especially during the holiday season. We become physically, emotionally and spiritually depleted and eventually we collapse, drained and depressed. Schedule some personal time in every day, even if it is just 15 minutes. Take a walk, exercise, pamper yourself with a pedicure or massage, read a book, or just sit outside in the quiet. Do something that rejuvenates you mentally and physically to avoid exhaustion. You won't enjoy the season if your energy is drained.
Just say no! Remember that you have choices, not obligations. There is great freedom in saying "No", so do it often. Trying to do too much will set you up for stress and overwhelm, so make a commitment to simplify things this year. Make a list of "I will not do's" while you are making your to-do lists. Celebrate only the traditions that are most meaningful and bring your family joy, and set aside those that exhaust you. Eliminate the stressors, don't over-schedule and be flexible. In a few weeks, your family and friends won't remember that you scrubbed the floor or spent twelve hours in the kitchen. They will remember your attitude.
Open up and express your emotions. If you feel like crying, then let it out! If you are frustrated, then punch a pillow. If you have experienced the death of a loved one during the year and are grieving, know that it is okay to be sad. If you are lonely, then seek out ways to be involved in the community. It is not healthy to hold your emotions in for the sake of appearances, and it will only drain you in the end.
Yippee! Every day, say thanks for at least one thing that you are blessed with. We all have things that make us smile, things that we take for granted. Be grateful for a roof over your head, running water, transportation—things that many others live without. Give thanks for friends and family who love you unconditionally, and tell them how much they mean to you. Then, give thanks to yourself, for all you do for others to inspire them and lift them up, for the mother or wife you are, and for the things you will accomplish in your life after 50. Treasure yourself for who you are—you deserve it!
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