How do you feel at this time of the year?
Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the New Year… there is often a feeling of stress that sets in.
Celebrating the holidays is very important to me and sometimes, I go into overdrive! So, in order to fully enjoy the precious moments of this time of the year, I adopted a new “mantra”:
“Focus on what is really important”
You may say, “That’s fine, but how do you actually do it”?
Here are seven personal tips that I would like to share with you:
- If I’m invited to several parties on the same day, I decide to choose one (I know, that’s hard!!!) and courteously decline the others. This way I can be fully available to the people around me and spend quality time with them without feeling stressed thinking I have to be somewhere else soon.
- If my children are prone to coming up with a three-page gift list, I discourage this by taking away the advertising catalogs and limit access to television ads that encourage over-consumption and create needs or cravings that are not real. It’s impressive to see how different my children’s desires are when they are not influenced by marketing messages. I invite them to tell me the 3 or 4 things that would make them happiest.
- When I buy gifts, as much as possible, I choose to support the merchants and artisans of my neighborhood.
I make it a point to not only offer material gifts but also experiences! A sewing class, a horse riding lesson, a family outing, or simply a face-to-face meeting for a hot chocolate in the neighborhood’s coffee shop. That also makes for fewer gifts to wrap up and less waste!
- Similarly, instead of giving ourselves expensive gifts, my husband and I have decided to save for a weekend, a retreat, a trip, and fund our “Quarterly Getaway”. We choose an experience that will enrich our relationship. This kind of gift brings us so much more than any object could, as sophisticated as it might be!
- This season for me is a special time to experience the pleasures of receiving and giving. With this in mind, each year we bring toys and clothes that my children no longer use, to a charity; this ritual has become a way of creating space before filling it, and also to be aware of all the things we can accumulate which we do not really need! We share our clothes or toys with families in need, as well as taking the time to buy a new gift or to help serve holiday meals to those without resources.
- For the preparation of the festive meals, I ask each guest to come with a choice of starter or dessert. Everyone contributes to the meal and this reinforces the sharing and caring of the moment. I can then take pleasure in the preparation of the main course and in welcoming my guests (decorations, candles, drinks …) without feeling stressed. It also helps reduce anxiety about cost and allows me to provide a meal with better quality ingredients for my guests.
- Finally, first and foremost, I take time for ME! I make it a point of honor not to miss my dance or yoga class and to continue my practice of meditation.
And you? What are your “anti-stress tips” during the holidays?
I would be delighted to read them in the comment section of this blog!
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“Christine Lewicki is a Bestselling Author, Speaker & Coach. She is committed to helping people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE “I quit complaining” starter kit on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com and visit her Facebook page for inspirational articles and quotes to reveal the best version of yourself each day!