Ready for the Holidays? Make the most of the season


The holiday season is in full swing, snow is falling, and the radio stations play all of our favorite holiday tunes.  I absolutely love the holiday season, and all the memories it brings.  The holiday season, however, can be one of the most stressful and depressing time of year for many.  Holidays can bring family friction, late nights, little sleep, strain on your pocketbook, and additional work for many.  The holiday season does not have to control you; take a deep breath and resolve to make the most of it!  As you put the finishing touches on you home decorations, complete that shopping list, or try to squeeze in one last Christmas party, try to make the most of your holiday season without draining yourself.  Keep these tips from psychologist Renee Gilbert and in mind as you tackle your holiday season.

First, plan ahead and set priorities.  Oftentimes we feel the need to please everyone during the holidays, and while that is a fantastic goal, it can become unrealistic.  Don’t be afraid to say NO.  Instead, focus on what you can accomplish without running yourself thin, and focus on making the most of what you can accomplish.  Whether you are hosting your entire family for the holidays or traveling to celebrate with loved ones, make a plan.  All those unknowns can be stressful, so make a plan, create a list, set a timeline, and get your work accomplished.  This will leave you with more time to spend enjoying all the holiday season has to offer. 

Further, make sure to check your expectations.  There is no such thing as the perfect holiday, perfectly well behaved children, or a perfectly cooked meal.  Set your expectations so that you are not left disappointed or stressed if things do not turn out just right.  Besides, when things go wrong, like the dog taking off with the turkey, those instances are when some of the funniest and most heartwarming memories are made.

Next, make time for YOU!  I know, this sounds selfish during the season of giving, however, taking care of yourself ensures you have more to give to others.  Keep up some of your normal routine, like daily fitness or monthly brunch with your friends, this will help you keep your stress in check.  Further, take time away from work to spend with family, or create new holiday traditions.  Allow yourself some time to savor and reflect on the holiday season; that is how you truly make those warm holiday memories.

Allow yourself, and your kids, to dream.  The holiday season is magical, so take advantage of this time to dream.  Time flies by so quickly, and there are a limited number of years that your kids will truly dream with you, so let your imagination run wild and dream big.  Along with dreaming, take time to really celebrate your values.  No matter what you believe, use this time of year to focus on what is really important in life, and share it with your loved ones.  Forget those endless shopping lists, office Christmas parties, or the extreme commercialization we all face this time of year.  Instead, schedule family activities that showcase the true meaning of the holidays for your family, get excited, and work on making some memories!

Further, take some time to help others.  Donate some of your time, energy, or money to a cause in service to others.  There is nothing quite like helping others that defines the true meaning of giving.

Lastly, reflect as a family about the holiday season.  What did it mean to you, your children, your spouse, or your parents?  Take a minute to think about all the positive from the holidays, learn from those things that didn’t go so well, and keep those traditions that mean the most to those you love.  

So, as you get into the full swing of the holidays, use these tips to ensure you and your family are making the most of the season.

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