Friday, November 29, 2013

Five Tips For The Holidays (Hint: Relax!)

Doesn’t the holiday season always come faster than you expected? The crowds. The in-laws. The never-ending cooking. It’s tough to keep up your stamina when it’s your turn to be the host. 

Here are ways to limit the stress and the scrambling so the holidays with family are really relaxing:
  1. Plan Ahead.  Can you prepare meals, or parts of them, ahead of time? Set the table in advance? Think about what your parents or older visitors might need: a portable toilet seat?  Are they on a special diet? Find out what movies are playing in your area, or if there are events they might like and get tickets. Going out may break up all the togetherness!
  2. Shop Early—and Often. A good grocery list and not waiting until the day before can limit your stress levels greatly.  This leaves you with time to send out the kids for any forgotten items but still have the essentials already in hand. 
  3.  Let others help. Most people feel good about being part of the process. Don’t be too proud to dole out assignments if family members “forget” to offer their services. Can someone pick up Mom at her place or an adult child at the train? Play to people’s strengths: does your aunt make a mean apple pie? Is your cousin good on the guitar? Have him bring it! Can someone take your dog for a long walk and tire her out before company comes? Or, give them a choice of a few things you need done and have them pick one. You do not want to burn out! When everyone contributes, it makes the holidays that much more special.
  4. Go To Sleep Already! With all the doings during the day, a good night’s sleep is crucial for limiting your stress levels.  Do something relaxing before bed. Rather than watch TV or be on your computer, how about listening to soft music or reading? 
  5. Lighten Your Mood With Exercise. Take a step back from the frenetic holiday regimen and go for a walk or hit the gym. Get those endorphins flowing! Taking a break can instantly lighten your mood and give you a fresh outlook on your holiday duties.
Even when the get together doesn’t play out exactly how you planned, let it go. Soak up the time with your family, the good laughs, and the memories you are making. Get real! All families have their issues. The holidays are unlikely to be absolutely perfect. If you want that, there’s always next year!

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