Everyone be of good cheer! It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes. While the holidays are a wonderful time, they can also be one of the most stressful times of the year for families as parents try to meet children's expectations, stay on budget, and make sure to include friends and family in not one but several holiday events, activities, and meals. But there are a few things you can do to keep the "happy" in your holidays.
Make a list and check it twice. Being organized can help you get through the holidays. Put on your list the things you must do and include a few that you would like to do. If you can include a time line to help you stay on schedule and avoid any last-minute shopping or post office trips.
Be a little naughty and nice. While you are trying to make everyone happy with everything from decorating the house to making sure that Great Aunt Sally doesn't sit next to Grandpa because they always fight over dinner, take a little time to be "naughty" too. That includes taking some time for "me" even if it means hiding in the bathroom just to have 10 minutes to read a book or avoiding a phone call because you just don't want to go over the menu plans one more time.
"HALT" in the name of holidays! Whenever you start to feel hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT), stop and take time to play. Put your favorite holiday DVD in and cuddle up with the kids. Take a walk around the block. Give the kids some extra Wii time. Maybe even let your mother-in-law bring the pecan pie, even though your pie is better.
Just say no. During the holidays there are a great many more donations to collect, charities to participate in, and school functions. It is OK to put limits on how much you can collect, donate or participate because if you don't soon you will be doing so much for everyone, you will have no time for family.
Go ahead, have a fit. When you start to feel overwhelmed have a physical fit. Work off some of that anger, anxiety or stress by taking a walk, using the treadmill, walking up and down the steps or even doing an exercise DVD with the kids. You will feel better and your family will, too. Not only that, but those extra holiday pounds are harder to stick around if you stay active.
Random acts of kindness. Hold the door. Share a coupon. Give the lady in front of you the last ham. Buy a lunch for the car behind you or donate to a charity. Making others happy can help make you happy, too.
Laughter is the best medicine. I know it is in my house. Just doing something silly like playing hide and seek with the girls or being a mommy monster who chases them around and catches them to tickle them can silly the stress away and make the whole day better for you and the family.
Remember decking the halls with boughs of holly doesn't have to be perfect and the crust on your pie doesn't have to be measured to be eaten and enjoyed. With these simple tips, you can help keep your days "merry and bright."
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