Between touching family moments and thoughtful gifts, chances are you’re going to reach for the tissue box at least once this holiday season. To help you manage those feelings of joy -- along with the occasional frustration -- it’s helpful to prepare in advance. So before you dive into those decorations and celebrations, consider these four simple ways to make this season even merrier.
1. Give yourself a break. Although it can feel like you don’t have a second to spare, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Even if it’s just for a moment, allow yourself to relax in a quiet place. This will help you feel more in control of your feelings—and prevent meltdowns.
One way to recharge your batteries is through working out. According to a University of Georgia study, regular exercise can increase your energy levels by 20 percent. Plus, it can relieve stress and increase levels of feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. No time for the gym? Go for a walk, or try our 15-minute at-home routine.
2. Own your emotions. The holidays are full of beautiful moments—like watching your child in the holiday play and opening a handmade gift from a loved one—that can make you well up. A common reaction is feeling embarrassed by those tears. A better way to handle the situation? Be open about your feelings. For instance, say, “I’m so touched by this gift. It means so much to me that it made me cry. Thank you!”
3. Be picky. By now, you’ve probably received invites for events, gatherings and parties from your workplace, child’s school, friends and family. Before you RSVP to them all, consider which ones you really want or need to attend. Focusing on a handful of special events with cut down on stress and help you enjoy every moment.
Rather than give an excuse, decline with a simple “thank you so much, but I’m unable to go” or “I really appreciate the invitation, but I’m trying to scale back on my commitments this year to focus on my family during the holidays.”
4. Create family traditions. By lightening your social calendar, you’ll be able to spend more time doing the things that are important to you. Some of the most fulfilling and memorable moments of the season are family traditions, such making special recipes, caroling with friends and taking in the twinkling lights on a drive. Plan at least one night each week to share to wonder, excitement and joy of the holidays together.
Photo: Corbis Images