It's ironic that the season of Christmas that originated from a humble beginning has transformed into an extravagant procedure with shopping, decorating, cooking, planning parties and attending functions. Stress and anxiety seem to be constant companions during this season leaving little time to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season. I propose that we return to the simple joy of celebrating Christmas with a few tips-
- Determine "your" meaning of Christmas. Too often we allow ourselves to drift so far from the "Spirit of Christmas" to please the expectations of others. Take time to really deliberate what Christmas means to you, which traditions you look forward to, which you dread. After you have determined what you want to gain from this season it will be easier to enjoy it without becoming overwhelmed.
- Keep a Calendar. Stress in magnified when you are unorganized. Planning your season is a glorious tool that puts stress to sleep. By writing down dates of functions, parties and get togethers you reduce the chance to over booking and double booking. Make it a habit to frequently look at your calendar as a reminder of events coming up.
- Keep a To-Do list. With lots of functions and events it can be difficult to remember the simple To-Do's of daily life. By keeping a list it makes it easy to stay on top of tasks and utilize time wisely.
- Say "NO." You just can't do every thing. Sometimes you have to say "NO." Revert back to what Christmas means to you and use that to judge what activities are most important and which cause extra stress with little enjoyment.
- Sleep. You have got to sleep. Burning the candle at both ends will only make the Christmas season a blur through tire eyes. Running on little sleep not only dampens the excitement of the holidays it reduces your ability to be patient, kind and thoughtful and isn't this the season to be developing attributes like these?
- Avoid "perfectionist syndrome." The fact is often things don't go as planned, the turkey takes longer to cook, your guests arrive late, drink is spilt, people get sick or the cat pulls the Christmas tree down...don't make an already busy season more stressful. Avoid getting caught up in making everything perfect and sit back to enjoy the traditions and being with people you love.
- Come what may and Laugh about it. If things don't go as planned find it within you to laugh! Every situation has a funny side to it - embrace it. Laughter is a perfect antidote for a dire situation and always reduces or eliminates stress.
- Socialize. Christmas seems like the prime time of socializing and catching up. Make sure you find time in your busy schedule to be with others, chat, laugh and reminisce. Letting your hair down while being with loved ones will fulfill you in so many ways.
- Recognize the positive. Recording the positive parts of your day in a journal is a great tool to reflect on what you have and fuels your mind with optimism. This will make you happier and as a result happiness will radiate through your countenance and positively affect those around you.
- Seek the "Spirit of Christmas" through service. Serving others always allows you to reflect on all you have and broadens your perspective. Although serving seems like it takes precious time out of your schedule you will be surprised by the energy you will receive through acts of goodness.
By Worldwidehealth Editor
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