Oh December… the month of high hopes and expectations, shopping, over the top decorations, and extended family visits. The idea of holiday greetings and gay happy meetings sounds great. But the reality is that you’ve been stressed out since Halloween, ended up crying in the bathroom twice already, and seeing extended family and in laws has you on edge. To make matters worse, you’re not finished with your holiday shopping and the kids’ wish lists are unrealistic. So this doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year.

 

Here are some tips to staying sane this holiday season:

 

Tip #1: BE Present

The holidays used to be magical. Yes, that was partly because you believed in Santa Claus. But really it was mostly because you reveled in the moment. You were wide-eyed when you passed dazzling lights, star-struck when you saw the Wonderland Express, and giddy when you unwrapped your gifts. You were in the moment 100% of the time. And that made this season delightful.

Being present is the greatest gift that you can give yourself and your loved ones this holiday. You running around like a short-tempered chicken with its head cut off doesn’t help anyone. You being able to enjoy the moment (without borrowing worry from the past or future) will be something everyone can appreciate. This is where the magic lies. And I can guarantee that you’ll appreciate this holiday way more if you take time to enjoy it.

 

Tip #2: Figure out your priorities

Start with YOUR priorities. For me, my priority this holiday season is quality time with my loved ones. Which means that I’ll forgo things that are going to create conflict and stress (like dragging my husband through crowded shopping malls and the Christkindlmarket). So I focus less on how the decorations look and more on the experience of trimming the tree. Does my home look festive? Sort of. But, even better, it FEELS festive. Because I’m not stressing out about decorating or cooking certain foods.

Then consider the priorities of your family members. And if their priorities are stressing you out, delegate. You don’t want to cook an elaborate Christmas feast by yourself? I don’t blame you. But if your family is insisting on it, let them know that they’ll have to pitch in. And be SPECIFIC on what you expect them to do. And if they slack off, there are plenty of Chinese restaurants open for take-out…

Pick the traditions and experiences that matter most to you and your family. There are certain festivities that make it feel like Christmas. And those are on my non-negotiable list. But, as I mentioned in my last blog post, who I do them with can be negotiable. My husband hates fighting the crowds at Christkindlmarket. He doesn’t like mulled wine or shopping. So I know that activity is something better done with friends. There are other things that he loves that we can do together.

 

Tip #3: Give yourself time to relax and rejuvenate

Part of what drives us insane during the holidays is that we don’t take time for ourselves. And we need to relax and recharge to be able to go full throttle. The holiday season isn’t something to “get through,” it’s something to enjoy. So we need to live our lives in a way that is sustainable. That is true self-care.

Self-care doesn’t start with New Year’s resolutions. It starts now. It starts with doing the things that help keep you calm and give you renewed energy. Maybe that’s snuggling with a good book (or reading out loud to your kids). Perhaps that’s having coffee dates or phone dates with girlfriends that bring joy into your life. Figure out what rejuvenates you and do it.

 

Hope you’re having a great holiday season! In the spirit of being present, figuring out priorities, and rejuvenation, I will be taking a break from blogging and return to it in the New Year.