The holiday season is upon us, and in just a blink, we’ll be saying hello to a new year. Does this time of year tend to make you feel like a swan – gliding gracefully across the lake, but paddling like mad just beneath the surface? You promise next year won’t be like the last, but you still find yourself a little burned out by the ball drop? You aren’t alone.
Many of us will be traveling, splurging, binging, stressing or all of the above. So before we get into the thick of it, we wanted to share a few ways to help you sail smoothly into the new year. Some of this may seem pretty obvious, but let’s face it, sometimes we all need a little reminder to practice what we preach!
5 Tips for A Perfect Holiday Season
Set realistic expectations
We have all entertained the idea of what a perfect holiday season should look like. We fill up on feel-good holiday movies and commercials, mixed with some nostalgia of fond memories of holidays past. It’s hard to go into the season without feeling hopeful that everything will go perfectly.
Were you expecting us to tell you that the perfect holiday doesn’t exist? Well, it can, within reason of course. It all depends on you – your perspective and expectations going into it. What does perfect mean to you? Does your perfect holiday allow for fuzzy edges, maybe include a burnt meal, bickering siblings or whatever not-so-perfect scenario applies to you and yours? If so, you’re doing a good job of setting yourself up for a successful and fulfilling end of year.
Set realistic expectations of yourself
We sometimes try to add our holiday tasks on top of an already full plate. Take this time to think about what you can realistically accomplish, attend and manage. Make a prioritized list of your holiday to-dos, and then cross out at least the bottom fourth of it. Don’t be afraid to say no to obligations and tasks that aren’t near the top of your list. It’s the holidays, after all – there should be no need to apologize for giving yourself a break, too.
An extra tip here: Even if you think your schedule is realistic, make sure to include some extra buffer time for everything and leave nothing to the last minute. This will give you the best chance of staying calm, cool and collected no matter what comes your way.
Indulge, but just a little
The holidays come with a lot of eating and drinking. And much of what you consume is probably not on your regular menu! It can be easy to get a little carried away in this department during the holiday season. If it’s a big change from your regular routine, it can actually create more stress and anxiety by wreaking havoc on your body.
It’s a surprisingly subtle way to send your holiday season off course (and sometimes the beginning of your new year, too). We’re certainly not saying you should skip that second helping, but make a point to have regular check-ins with yourself and listen to what your body, mood and energy levels are telling you.
Schedule time for yourself before the calendar is full
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the things that must be done, and everything that everyone else needs, during the holidays. Make sure you have time prioritized for yourself that is unrelated to any holiday happenings. Put actual appointments (yes, plural) in your calendar for whatever is included in that “me time” and stick to those appointments like you would if they were with anyone else.
Not sure what to do with that appointment? You can easily sneak in at least a little time to practice some mood-boosting self-care practices. Check out a movie solo, go for a long stroll outdoors or treat yourself to a body treatment like a massage, facial or haircut.
Obvious? Yes. Easy? Not so much during the holidays.
It’s so important that we remind ourselves to actively practice being present every single day. If we don’t pause, we may find ourselves going through the motions in a blur of holiday madness, only to brace for it again next year. Minimize your screen time, listen without waiting to speak, take a walk, savor your food, recognize moments of joy, and just breathe.
No matter what this holiday season looks like, let’s all make a point to be present and soak it all in for whatever it turns out to be – perfect or not.