The holiday season emphasizes peace, love, and joy, but stress and anxiety can sneak uninvited among the celebrations with our families and loved ones. With political tensions, overcrowded terminals, family disputes, gift-giving pressures, and expectations for perfection, we can easily lose sight of what the holidays should be about. To help set positive intentions this season, here is a list of five simple things you can do to keep yourself calm and happy through the busy weeks ahead.
1. Put yourself first
Don’t forget that, in order to make others happy, you must be in a positive space yourself. Keep a balance between treating yourself and giving to others. It can be easy to overload your priority list and forget to simply relax this holiday season. Schedule time in your calendar to lounge on your couch with your favorite book, watch a holiday television show or movie, or even take yourself out for lunch or coffee. Whatever it is you enjoy, don’t allow your priorities to take a backseat to the demands of others.
2. Allow for imperfections
If the turkey burns, order out! If the dog chews up your fancy napkins, break out the paper towels! It’s alright if not everything goes as planned this holiday season. Remember: the reason why you’re having these parties is to spend time with loved ones. In the end, you’re not going to remember the small details, so try not to sweat them in the moment. Allow yourself to relax, laugh it off, and have a good time no matter what.
3. Listen to jazz music
According to Psychology Today, one of the most obvious effects of listening to jazz music is stress reduction. What could be more relaxing than sitting next to the crackling fire with Nat King Cole crooning in the background and a cool glass of eggnog in your hand? Set the perfect mood with your favorite classic tunes featured on popular holiday jazz albums featuring famous jazz musicians, such as Christmas in the Dog House, Night Is Alive’s First Christmas, Ella Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas, or Jingle Bell Swing, to name a few.
4. Get plenty of sleep and exercise
Burning the midnight oil too much this season can lead to a meltdown. Try to set a regular bedtime and schedule your rest like you would any other important task. Don’t drink too much caffeine or have a lot of sugar late at night. If you can, add some exercise to your routine or continue your workouts through the holidays. Exercising is excellent for your body and mind and can help reduce your overall stress. And, let’s be honest – with all the amazing food we’re going to be enjoying this season, it doesn’t hurt to walk around the block or do a few crunches before dinner!
5. There is no shame in saying no
It’s okay to opt out! There are only so many hours in a day, and you don’t have to fill them all. If the thought of attending that party makes you feel more overwhelmed than excited, stay home! Don’t feel pressured to spend money outside your means on extravagant gifts. You can show your love and appreciation in plenty of other ways that are perhaps even more meaningful than a material thing.
Keeping these five points in mind can help us all get the most out of this holiday season. Remember that this time of year is supposed to be about spreading goodwill, and take care of yourself first and foremost. Enjoy!