Monday, November 14, 2011

Stress Free Holiday How-Tos

I've survived my first illness (strep throat), I've had a Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate, and I have a lot more grading than I wish! It can only mean one thing, the holidays are upon us all. Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa is all about giving thanks, taking a much needed rest, and spending time with family and friends, yet the holidays can be filled with all sorts of stress and mental angst. Here are my quick tips for how to stay happy in the season to be jolly:

1. Plan Ahead

It's true, we cannot control everything in life, but plan for the things you do have control over. Make a shopping list with the people you need to buy gifts for and your budget for each gift. Start early, so you have plenty of time to wrap and mail gifts to appropriate destinations. Remember: expect long lines at the post office the closer to Christmas you wait to mail those gifts and cards. Cooking a big fancy dinner for Thanksgiving? Shop ahead of time for everything that won't spoil. Folks who work at our local HEB tell me that they will run out of popular and in-demand items. Catching a flight to celebrate with family? Now is not the time to chance the security lines. Always arrive 2 hours ahead of your flight!

2. Pledge to Get Along 

Holidays bring families together and that is wonderful, but every family has arguments and conflicts. Try to avoid hot button issues that create conflict. If you do have arguments, work to resolve them fast, so you can spend your time catching up, not brooding. Remember: hosting is a difficult task, so if you'll be a house guest this holiday season, do your best to make things easy for your host. Check out this relevant post How to Live With Your Parents as an Adult for some more tips on getting along with those you love most!

3. Stick to Your Routine 

Holidays can cause us to ditch our exercise routines and eat and drink a lot more than usual. The result? You feel yucky, low on energy, and uncomfortable in your clothes. Try to stick to your exercise routine up until the day you travel.  If you have the chance to exercise while traveling, take it! It doesn't have to be boring: take a walk with family, do a group video workout, or be awesome like Brendan's family and plan a dance party for the day after Thanksgiving. Holiday food is great, and you should enjoy it. Just stop when you feel full to avoid feeling as stuffed as a Turkey. You can always come back to the dessert table when you've had a chance to digest!

4. Accept What You Can't Control 

Flight delays, a burnt turkey, lost luggage, getting lost, gifts that were lost in the mail: hopefully none of these things happen to you, but if they do, take a deep breath and don't freak out. Take it from someone who has panicked: panicking doesn't help. The best way to make the best of any situation: do your best given the circumstances and don't lay blame on anyone else for situations that are out of everyone's control. Trust me, I've yelled at my brother for forgetting the credit card at a gas station and panicked about getting lost on a car trip, but in the end overreacting only created more problems. Stay calm!

5. Give Thanks

In the end, remember what the holidays are about and be grateful to have time to share with family and friends. If you can find a volunteer opportunity or a way to give back to the community during the holiday season, do so. It always helps to keep life in perspective: there is more to the holidays than frantic shopping and cooking, as the year comes to an end, focus on thinking outside of yourself. Doing something good for others, whether it is people you know or strangers, is always beneficial, and nothing puts me in the holiday spirit more than making others happy.

Now, enjoy these beautiful Fall pictures of beautiful Atlanta, GA and get ready for holidays 2011, because whether you're ready or not, they are here!

pretty trees!

Nancy, me, and Mary bundle up in our cold weather clothes

Happy trails where ever the road takes you this holiday season!
<3 S, L&Z

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