How to Keep the "Joy" in the Holiday Season


This is the time of year that we are inundated with demands on our time, our wallet, and our healthy habits. Yes, many of us look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and other holidays—but do we enjoy them or simply survive them? It is not the same as when we were children and our parents, grandparents, and other family planned, decorated, cooked, and wrapped for our ultimate joy.

Hopefully, you do find joy and happiness this time of year. Let’s discuss some things that you can do to make sure that this time is a memorable, happy one!


• Keep your gift buying within your financial means. It is tempting with Black Friday sales, Cyber-Monday deals, and feeling obligated to buy the one gift wanted by your loved ones! Keep purchases within reasonable limits—better yet, how about give the gift of your time or talents? Baking, cooking, attending a holiday event, creating a craft, creating a photo album or scrapbook, or watching a holiday movie together can all be low-cost ways to show how you care. Long after a material gift is gone, loved ones will remember an event and how they felt you took the time for them!

• Don’t over-commit yourself. Party invitations, religious events, caroling—they are bound to pop up. Don’t feel that you need to attend every function, even if you are a social person. Down time is a good thing!


• Which leads us to “me time”. If you work, attend school, have a family, work and have a family, volunteer, etc. then you need to take care of you, too! Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep, spending sometime relaxing (I read a Richard Paul Evans

novel each Christmas season), meditate, pray, exercise (more on this in a moment), enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, and just spending time enjoying things that are special to you. By doing these things, you can decrease stress and decrease the likelihood of getting rundown, fatigued, or becoming ill.


• Keep up your healthy habits or make some new ones. Make sure to keep your fluid intake level up (especially water) as you can become dehydrated even in the winter—simple respiration leads to fluid loss. Try the “80/20” eating plan—80% of your intake is nutritious and healthy, 20% is more fun foods (special holiday goodies). Keep up your activity level. Do you have regular workout times or classes that you attend? Try to keep to your schedule as much as possible. If things coincide with your regular time, sneak in a walk or try exercise DVDs or an on-demand fitness (grokker.com or beachbodyondemand.com, for example). Don’t forget to deep breathe throughout the day, too—so cleansing! Dr. Weil has some info here https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/stress-anxiety/breathing-three-exercises/


• Enjoy! Focus on your beliefs and traditions that are most meaningful for you—it can be cathartic to let go of less fulfilling and time-consuming traditions. I have cut back on the number of decorations I put out each year and the expectations for myself—the season is still meaningful and just as (or more) enjoyable for our family.


So please, enjoy AND de-stress this holiday season!