No One Regrets Not Eating That Cookie

How To Be Happy: Holiday Stress Relief Tips

A client of mine and I spoke recently about the stress of facing the multitude of holiday parties packed with cookies, candy, cakes and other problem foods, just as she was making progress on her new and improved healthy meal plan. She resolved to pass on all the junk, noting, "Coming home from a party, I never regret not eating that cookie." She'll wear a bracelet during the holidays to remind her of that observation. It got me thinking about other non-regrets and ways to be happy this holiday season of giving, love and forgiveness. What are some things that you can give up or add on to make your holidays brighter, cheerier, better and calmer? Here are some suggestions!

During the holidays, no one regrets:

  • Not having that last glass of wine. Maybe three is your limit. If so, now's the time to resolve to stick to it. When you arrive home compos mentis, having passed up that offer to stop for an impromptu holiday drink with your ex, you will not feel bad about passing up the wine. Bonus? You won't feel bad about the ex either.
  • Saying no to that cigarette after having been off the things for 3 years. While it's not the end of the world to lapse, why let the holiday stress lead to self-destructive behaviors? If you do buy that pack, toss it after smoking one and return to the smoke-free life you enjoyed in which you were no longer a social pariah.
  • Keeping that snarky retort to yourself. However sweet it may be to get the last word, the last laugh or the last sarcastic quip, when you choose not to say it, you're not likely to go home and wish you had. Okay, occasionally you might. But you can still remind yourself that communicating compassionately feels even sweeter.
  • Giving that gift. Sometimes you're not sure if you're supposed to give a gift to the admin that doesn't really work for you, your virtual assistant that's only been on payroll for three weeks or the friend you rarely see but happen to have scheduled a coffee with two days before Christmas. Giving just feels good.
  • Passing up that fling with your friend's boyfriend. He's someone you always enjoy. He's smart, charming and always makes you laugh until it hurts. One night he happens to take you home, there's a little tension in the air and that moment of indecision. Trust me, you will not feel bad saying no to this one.
  • Complimenting someone. You know how you notice the scarf someone's wearing or the new haircut, but just don't get around to mentioning it? Or maybe you think the person is a little full of themselves and question whether they really need another compliment. Do it! Just like other forms of giving, this one feels good and it's so easy.
  • Making that visit to Grandma. Or to Aunt Ruth or Uncle Joe or whomever. The holidays are busy but surely there's time for one extra stop to see someone housebound, in a nursing home or someone who doesn't get a lot of visitors. Much like a compliment, it's a free gift that can mean a lot.
  • Running that extra mile. Or going to the gym one more morning, or taking that new yoga class or spending that extra 30 minutes meditating. Doing something that calms you during stressful times is well worth the extra few minutes it takes. Relax and breathe into it.
  • Giving that extra hug. Whether it's to your child, partner, co-worker or friend, everyone loves getting a bonus amount of snuggles and love. And giving hugs are gratifying too. Go for it.

Sometimes you have to think a little harder to make these things happen — or not happen. That's why my client decided to wear a bracelet as her reminder. Sticky notes, phone pop-ups and setting clear intentions work just as well. Remind yourself to get through the holidays with no regrets. What can you do to remind yourself to be mindful and calm this holiday? Leave a comment below!

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