Ten Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

As the 2015 Holiday season descends upon us, it seems to be a time to make lists and stress about all the things we need to do.  Here are ten suggestions of easy ways to put some joy into this time of year:

  1.   Call someone you have been meaning to talk to.  Pick up the phone and do it.  And if they aren’t there, leave a personal message, telling them how much you miss talking to them, and that he or she is in your thoughts.
  2. Buy yourself a calendar for next year.  I know, there are a lot of them you can get for free…but, unless you LOVE one of those…pick one that will make you happy.  You look at it everyday, right?  Maybe one with pictures of places you would like to travel or maybe somewhere you have already had a wonderful time.  Maybe pictures that make you smile (silly cats?) or just a beautiful picture that you don’t mind looking at every day for 30 days.  One of my Dad’s best gifts is a calendar marked with everyone in the family’s birthday and anniversary.  8940017F
  3. Look at the schedules for movies, be it streaming or network, and look at your own collection of movies..and pick out three holiday movies.  Maybe one that you absolutely love (for me it’s the original version of Miracle on 34th Street), one that you have Miracle_on_34th_Streetnever seen before, and one that you know will make you cry (Holiday Inn for me).  Mark them on your calendar, and sit down and watch them–make it a small event.  Popcorn, wine…and enjoy the wonderful sentimentality of it.
  4. Get some special coffee or tea (whatever your poison is) and a brand new mug.  Brew the warm beverage, put in your pretty new mug, and sit by the fireplace, or the coziest place in your house, and listen to the wind outside.  You are inside in the warmth, and your tummy is being filled with warm spices.  Take fifteen minutes.  You deserve it.
  5. When you are in your car, turn on one of those radio stations that have Christmas music playing all the time, and sing out loud.  Really loud!  Even if you don’t know the words.
  6. Bake some cookies—don’t say you don’t have time…this is not something to just cross off the list, but to enjoy.  Baking is a sensory experience, between the smell of the spices and the anticipation of the warm goodies from the oven.  Ok, you really don’t bake?  Buybooks one really really cool cookie, and sit down and eat it very slowly (see number 4 above).  For me, sometimes just going through cookbooks and looking at the pictures and reading the recipes is enough.
  7. Drive around your neighborhood, or maybe some neighborhoods that you really admire after dark, and look at the Christmas lights.  One of my guilty pleasures is to go with a friend, and be the Light Police–we pick out the decorations we love, and those we hate, and decide on a best house.
  8. Say no to an invitation.  It’s ok.  Really it is.
  9. Pick one tradition or something that you have done every year.  Don’t do it.  Maybe it’s sending out Christmas cards, maybe it’s going to gingerbreadsee the Nutcracker.  Choose NOT to do it.  See how you feel.  If it feels ok, it’s off the list forever.  If not, you can always pick it up next year.
  10. Do something for someone who has less than you.  Volunteer for a few hours in a soup kitchen or an animal shelter.  Give a toy to a child who doesn’t have many. Isn’t that what it is really all about?

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