For some the holidays are a magical time, filled with memories of snowflakes, cookies, warm hugs, and gift-giving. For others, it two weeks of chaos, crowded shopping centers, mountains of dishes, and judgmental relatives. Whether you're crazy for the holidays or the holidays drive you crazy, there's no doubt about it; this time of year can be a bit stressful, especially these last two years. So if you find yourself feeling a tad overwhelmed, know that you're not alone. And that you can find peace this holiday season, amidst it all, with these three tips.
Before we begin: How to reboot your health after the holidays
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3 tips for a peaceful holiday
1. Take time for yourself
Ever hear, “put on your mask before helping others.” You MUST take care of yourself over the holiday season, especially if you are hosting.
Keep in mind, as the host your job is to provide a safe environment for your guests. You are not in charge of anyone's happiness and you certainly don’t need to keep everyone entertained 24/7. Chances are, they need a little down time themselves and would be willing to help you out if instructed.
Need some time just for yourself? Announce that you are doing your daily meditation, set a timer for 20 minutes, sneak up to an empty room and just relax. If you are able to actually meditate, great! But if you don’t feel comfortable doing a full 20 minute meditation, take the time to silence your phone, put your feet up against the wall and practice the art of doing nothing. This extra “me” time might help to reset you on a hectic day.
Bonus: Grab a cup of herbal tea to bring with you, or try a guided meditation on YouTube.
2. Reduce perfectionist tendencies and delegate responsibilities
Remember how we talked about how you’re not in charge of everyone's happiness? Well, that’s true. You may have a family member who makes you feel like you are, but the truth is, that’s called codependency. Taking on the burden of everyone else's happiness can lead to perfectionist tendencies, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Instead, live by the mantra: “Things will not go as planned, and that’s the joy of life”.
Oven breaks? Scrap the pie and build a small fire out in the snow for winter-time s'mores! Surprise relatives? Help them book a hotel down the street or have the kids build a sleepover fort in the den to free up a few beds. Invention is the mother of necessity. Get creative, and let go of the ego. It may not be perfec, but perfection isn’t the goal here.
Letting go of perfectionist tendencies plays into phase two of this tip: delegate responsibility. Your kids, spouse, in-laws, and family members may not do things how you’d like them to be done, and that’s okay! Let the kiddos make the grandparents some sloppy sandwiches for lunch, instead of stressing over that homemade mushroom bisque you had planned. Have your parents be in charge of dessert for the night! Ask everyone to pick up any used wrapping paper off the ground before they hop up for sledding. This is your holiday too.
And if things go down the garbage shoot? Laugh it off! The more you laugh, the better you will feel.
3. Turn mindfulness into a group activity
Yes, Apples to Apples, Twister, and Pictionary are all fun and games, but here’s your chance to kill two birds with one stone. Gather your family around to write down intentions for the new year, goals, self-complements, and complements for the group! If not that, then have everyone write a letter to their future self. Next year you can sit around and open the letters together and have a good laugh about how you thought your year would turn out. These activities are not only healthy for the whole family, but can be very centering for you as well. No stress involved here.
Now take a deep breath, because you've got this!
Psst...Don't forget to order your MamaSezz Detox and Reboot Program for January 1st!
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.