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Brace Yourselves…The Holidays Are Coming!

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Photo by bugtiger via Freedigitalphotos.net

The holiday season is here again!

It seems like just yesterday I was preparing for last holiday season. Though I absolutely love everything about the holidays, every year they seem to sneak up even faster and I find myself not quite ready for all the hustle and bustle. As much as I have tried to plan ahead in the past years, it always seems I am left feeling so overwhelmed that I hardly enjoy the actual holidays themselves. When I look around at others, I see the same thing happening to them.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we allow such a joyous time of year to be ruined by unnecessary stress?

I can’t give a definite answer to those questions, but I can say that it doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to better enjoy the holiday season and embrace it for what it’s worth. With a little forward planning and determination, we can make the holidays what we want rather than what stress creates them to be.

Here’s what you can start doing now to have the most spectacular holiday season yet!

Brace Yourselves…The Holidays Are Coming!

Visualize. Think about what you want your holidays to look like. Close your eyes and visualize yourself shopping, cooking, spending time with family, or partaking in family traditions. Imagine how you want to feel while doing those things. Make it your goal to be fully present and as relaxed as possible when doing things you most enjoy throughout the entire season.

Don’t wait for Black Friday. As early as possible, keep an open mind when doing regular shopping at places like Target, Walmart, or department stores. You may just find an amazing sale on something that would be a perfect gift for someone in your family. I bought my first Christmas gifts this year in August! Plus, I regularly use Target’s Cartwheel app to check for sales on toys for the kids in the family. Not only does this help you check off your gift-giving list early, but it will seriously help with credit card bills come January.

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Ice! Featuring Frosty the Snowman, 2014

Prepare for traditions. Holiday traditions are often the highlights for families during this time of year. Living in the National Capital Region, one thing my family has done is visit the Ice! display at the Gaylord hotel at National Harbor. Whatever your traditions are, take advantage of where you live and plan ahead so that you are stress-free during the event. Clear your calendars so nothing else can interfere with the activity. Turn off your phone and immerse yourself in those you’re with. Truly celebrate whatever traditions you have and take pictures to capture the memories.

Celebrate each holiday individually. Often times people become wrapped up in Christmas so early that they don’t pay much attention to Thanksgiving (we partly have the TV commercials to blame for that!). But by doing that, we miss out on being truly thankful and appreciating all we have. Similarly, by constantly focusing on presents for Christmas or Hanukkah, we miss out on the true reasons for those holidays. Whatever you celebrate, look beyond the commercialism and remember the true meaning of the celebration and embrace each day for what it is.

Take care of yourself. Eat well, get regular exercise, and take time to rest and relax. Don’t wait until after the holidays to start healthy resolutions, start them now. The better we feel, the less stressed we will be and the more effectively we will handle stressful situations. Plus, it’s no secret that when we feel good, we enjoy life so much more. It’s still okay to enjoy all the holiday goodies, just do so with balance in mind. When you feel you need a break, grab some coffee or tea and listen to some holiday music to treat your mind, body, and soul. No guilt!

A little planning can go a long way in creating an enjoyable, carefree holiday season! Brace yourself now and create your own personal plan for what you want your season to look like. Talk to your family about it and ask them to get on board to help you stick to it. After all, what affects you affects those around you, so working together can turn a typically stressful time into the most wonderful time of the year!

Happy Holidays!

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