Hi to the holidays

It is December again.
For many of us, it is one of the busiest times of the year. Family and perhaps corporate obligations involve a lot of get-togethers, gift-giving, and perhaps even travel. Daily routines are disrupted as additional responsibilities and activities kick in.
So, with all the merrymaking, it is often a stressful time of year as well.
Here is a list of tips that may help reduce the stress level.
n Make a list. Before the holiday rush begins, get organized, start a to-do list, including events to attend. Mark out which are priorities. Schedule the tasks on the to-do list by marking on your calendar when each item needs to be done.
The earlier the list is done, the sooner you can get started. Lists also help you see how much is pending. It may not be as bad as you think.

  • If the list looks too full, look at what activities can be dispensed with, and cross them off, even if these are traditions. Traditions are nice to have, but missing one this year will not cause it to disappear. It will be back next year.
  • Say “no.” Say it firmly and nicely. If the to-do list is still very full, be prepared to exercise your boundaries and decline politely when asked to take on more tasks, even if the request comes from a close family member. A reasonable person will not take offense, and you get to keep your sanity.
  • Shop off-hours or online. If you work, it may mean taking a vacation day off to go to the mall mid-week. Or go evenings, when most people have gone home to dinner or bed. With shorter lines, you may be able to buy most of what you need in one trip or fewer trips.
    If going to the stores is out of the question, try shopping online. There is no traffic on the Internet’s electronic highways. Better yet, the gift can be delivered straight to the person who is receiving the gift. Just be sure to let the receiver know so someone will be home to accept the package.
  • Delegate. This is a good time to get the children to help. They learn responsibility, and the joy of giving. Give them tasks they are old enough to do: help with the Christmas baking, gift wrapping, decorate the Christmas tree or write the gift cards. Teens can run errands, help shop for gifts or groceries and keep track of schedules. Everyone can help clean up. It is not hard to put things in the trash bin.
  • Continue to enjoy healthy meals and stay hydrated. Avoid excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and fat.
  • Children need downtime. So do grownups. Find or make some quiet time for yourself. Relationships do not stop just because of holiday preparations. Make time to go on a quiet date with your spouse. Watch a show with the kids, even if it’s only a movie on television and viewed from the family couch.
    Spend time and chat with a close friend or supportive family member.
    Go for a walk.
    Meditate.
    Exercise. According to Webmd, exercise causes the body to release endorphins, those feel-good chemicals which trigger positive feelings.
  • Enjoy the holidays. Take in the bright decorations, sing carols, smell the wonderful aromas, feel the festive atmosphere, the general cheer and goodwill that circulate freely during this season. After working so hard to get things together, you deserve to soak in the holiday cheer, which makes the season so enjoyable for everyone.
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