By Jenny Gumbert
It probably happens to you every year: Thanksgiving ends and you’re ready to throw yourself into the holiday season. You make all the plans—putting up decorations, shopping for presents, going to see festive concerts, attending tree lightings, RSVPing “Yes!” to endless holiday parties, making a list of new traditions you want to start, and so on, and so on. Next thing you know, you’re so overwhelmed and burned out that you can’t even enjoy what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
So, how do you slow down and enjoy this season that’s supposed to be about spending time with family and friends? We have a few tips that may help.
How to Slow Down & Enjoy the Season
Narrow down your commitments and prioritize
It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to do it all, but you’ll appreciate the activities that you choose to do more when you’re not worried about how you’re going to fit in the other 300 things on your list.
Focus on the friends, family, and activities that truly mean the most to you. As tempting as it may be to say “yes” to a friend of a friend’s Christmas Party, acknowledge that you’re already invited to closer friends’ and family members’ shindigs, and that you should save your extra time and energy for something else. You may feel bad about turning down friendly offers, but you’re better off putting your energy into another activity.
Speaking of which…
Give yourself a break
As much fun as a lot of holiday events can be, sometimes the best activities involve little preparation or cost and take place in your own home and backyard. Watch a favorite holiday movie, go for a walk to see lights around your neighborhood, or unplug and read a novel while sitting in front of a good fire.
Give yourself an even bigger break by booking a short but relaxing trip away. But remember to keep it nearby and low-key. Take a look at our post with a few suggestions on how to book a quick getaway.
Spend time outside
We all know that spending time outdoors has health benefits, but time in nature is particularly helpful for managing stress. It doesn’t matter how you get outside, just do it! Go for a walk or on a full fledged hike, or grab your warmest blankets and drinks and gather around your fire pit. No matter which way you choose to get out into the fresh air, you’ll benefit from its calming effects.
Take care of yourself
This is probably the hardest of our tips, but the most important. The holidays are full of rich foods and busy schedules; these factors can make it easy for us to fall out of good routines and healthy habits. Try your best to make the time to get plenty of sleep, some exercise when possible, and to slip in the occasional vegetable between bites of holiday cookies.
Remember to be kind
During this stressful time of year, the best gift you can give yourself and others is kindness. And when we’re stressed, we tend to be less patient with those around us.
Think about finding yourself at a crowded mall while shopping for presents for your loved ones. Not only are you anxious to find the perfect gift, but the crowds are making you feel panicked. It would be easy to yell at the person who accidentally runs into you or who confronts you for blocking their way, but keep in mind that they’re probably feeling just as stressed as you. Instead of throwing that anger back at them, a quick apology and a smile will make you and the other person feel infinitely better. It’s a win-win.
We hope these tips help you slow down and enjoy the best parts of this season. Remember: Your time is the most precious resource you have; don’t waste it on activities or experiences that aren’t worthwhile. Above all else, have a great holiday season full of the things and people you love most.