Your Holiday To-Don't List

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Although the holidays are supposed to be a time of comfort and joy, 90% of Americans report being stressed out between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  There’s an increase of colds and fatigue during this time, with people generally socializing and doing more, spending more, eating more and sleeping less.  Sometimes it’s easy not to feel wonderful during the most wonderful time of the year.  According to a Consumer Reports survey, the top 6 holiday stressors are:

Crowds and long lines
Weight gain
Overspending
Shopping for gifts
Traveling
Seeing certain relatives

So how can we alleviate the stress of the holiday season? The answer may be more self-care. This year, try adding some of the following self-care tips to make the season more enjoyable for everyone:
 
Be Intentional
For me, the true spirit of the holidays is gratitude, giving, connection and joy.  With these intentions in mind, I can more easily choose which holiday activities are in alignment with my priorities.  Spending time with close family and friends, caroling, baking, supporting a charitable cause, and going to a spiritual service support my intentions.

Knowing my priorities helps me turn down the things that are less important, without feeling guilty or pulled in a million different directions. This holiday season try writing down 3-4 qualities or emotions you most want to feel.  When you receive an invitation ask yourself if it matches how you want to feel.  It’s easier to say “no” to something if you know what you’re saying “yes” to.
 
Just say no
Which brings us to the next point-- how to say no? How many of you habitually say “yes” in the heat of the moment when you really mean “no” or need more time to think about it? I know I have.  While my enthusiasm has produced some great outcomes, more often than not it has left me feeling overcommitted and overwhelmed.   Same goes for the holidays:  saying yes to every holiday invitation, project or gift giving request can leave you tired and broke.
 
Saying no is the number one tool to cutting down holiday stress.  Once you become clear on your intentions for the holiday season, you will be able to more easily discern which activities and parties you want to participate in, and which do not align with your intentions.
 
So how do you say no to a holiday event you don’t want to attend?  Graciously thank the person for inviting you, and in as few words as possible, decline.  “I’m sorry, I already have plans that day.” Your plans may be to stay home and read a book, or take a bath or do nothing at all. If you need more time to think about it say, “I need to check my calendar.  I’ll let you know tomorrow.”  If it’s an invitation from someone you genuinely want to see but not during the hectic holiday season, you can suggest an alternative like, “I can’t make it to your party, but let’s have lunch after the holidays.”
 
In and Out
No, I’m not talking about the burger.  I’m talking about staying clutter free, or at the very least not adding to your clutter.  Here’s the simple rule:  for everything that goes in, one must go out.  Now apply this rule to gifts, clothing, even decorations.  Here’s a challenge: Try taking two things out for each thing that comes in.
 
Acupuncture
Come in for some holiday season acupuncture, and prevent those pesky colds, stress and feelings of overwhelm.  Even a short 30 minute session can work wonders and make you feel rested and ready to go.
 
Researchers at Georgetown University showed that acupuncture actually slows down the body’s production of stress hormones.  If you’re short on time, try pressing acupressure point He Gu for 30 seconds and taking a few deep breaths.  He Gu is located in the fleshy part between your index finger and thumb, and is great for relieving stress and tension in the body.
 
To A Stress Free Holiday Season,
Chalita and Amie