Tips for Your Best Holiday Ever!
By Aya Fubara Eneli, M.A, J.D.
What comes to mind when you think of the holidays? Do you get excited? Do you feel overwhelmed or stressed? Whatever, your past experiences, this holiday season can be your best one ever! Here are some tips to get you going.
1.Decide what you want your holiday to look like.
What do you really want this season? Do you want to reconnect with family? Do you want to relax? Do you want a ton of activity? Make a decision and plan accordingly. If you don’t take time to decide what you want, then you will most likely find yourself in an undesirable position.
2. Plan and plan early.
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. And when it comes to holiday planning, it makes sense to plan as early as possible. Whether you are travelling, hosting guests or just having a quiet holiday, you should definitely plan ahead. While you are at it, plan for contingencies. What happens if you are snowed in or if a flight is delayed?
If you are married, you may need to consider when you will spend time with both sides of the family. If you are a part of a blended family, you could potentially have multiple family engagements to consider. Start the conversation now to minimize the confusion and hurt feelings. If you are divorced and have children, the picture can be even more complicated but again additional stress can be averted by pre-planning and effectively communicating.
3. Monitor your diet and exercise.
I will not go over the benefits of exercise, but let it suffice to say that exercise makes you feel better and should be a consistent part of your life and particularly during the holidays. Besides being an effective mood regulator, exercising over the holidays will motivate you to make healthier eating decisions and will keep your momentum for health and fitness going rather than falling off. The proper nutrition (with limited indulgences) will ensure that you do not experience the extreme highs and lows that come with excessive sugar and even carbohydrate intake. If you are feeling good and in a better mood, you are less likely to start or be drawn into any negativity.
4. Choose not to take offense.
When you interact with others there is bound to be something someone says or does or neglects to say or do at which you can take offense. Getting offended is your choice. Decide ahead of time that you will just shake off any potential offenses and you will not be drawn into any unnecessary drama about politics, religion, your childhood, who brought the better gift, the décor, menu, etc. if you are a vegetarian and every meal including the dessert has animal products, just eat a piece of fruit and be merry.
5. Simplify your gift giving.
I know some of you enjoy shopping and can easily get your feelings hurt if people disregard your gift or don’t reciprocate in kind. Decide ahead of time to give because you want to and not because you are hoping to get something in return. I tend to give gift certificates. Some people think that indicates less thought and they may be right, but since I dislike shopping, gift certificates allow me to give gifts without stressing out about what people may or may not want and I can also stay within my budget. If need be, contact your recipients ahead of time and ask them specifically what they want. Your family or office staff may also choose to do a gift exchange or to assign one recipient per person so as not to put a strain on people’s wallets.
6. Party without the alcohol.
Seriously, try partying and enjoying each others’ company without alcohol or at the very least, limit the amount of alcohol. So many situations are escalated when alcohol is involved. If you can’t have fun without the buzz from alcohol, you may need to seek treatment.
7. Schedule time for the things that matter to you.
Decide what matters to you and make time for it. Some people love to seek out deals in the shops, others want to bake, others may just want to lounge around and enjoy everyone’s company, and others want to set up elaborate magical moments for their friends and family. Some families revel in decorating and creating winter wonderlands in and around their homes. Whatever your preference, set aside sufficient time to do what matters to you so you are not stressed for time at the last minute. Be sure to schedule some downtime for yourself too.
8. Monitor your triggers
There is nothing like family to bring out the worst in us. Before the holiday festivities begin, take a moment to note your triggers and create a plan for addressing them without losing control if the situation should arise. Do you struggle with an eating disorder, overeating, excessive indulgence in alcohol, anger at unresolved family situations? Know your triggers and have a plan in advance to counteract your reaction.
9. Serve the needs of others
Commit to meeting the needs of others this season. It is guaranteed to make you feel better about yourself and your circumstances. You may choose to serve in a soup kitchen or nursing home, donate money to a charity or visit the home-bound. Whatever your choice, research has shown that the act of giving builds empathy, confidence, and a sense of purpose and well-being which lowers your stress and creates connections that eliminate loneliness.
10. Keep a Journal of Gratitude
Make time to write your list of things for which you are grateful. Do this exercise every morning and evening. The more you are able to identify and express the things you are grateful for, the better your outlook on life. When you are consciously seeking the good in your life, you will be less focused on things that may cause you stress.
With a little fore thought and a lot of follow through you can have a blast this holiday season and make it your best holiday ever.
Join Aya for her 8 Week Transformational Experience. Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. She and her husband live in Central Texas with their five miraculous children. For more information, visit www.ayaeneli.com, like her on Facebook for daily success tips, follow her on twitter @ayaeneli or e-mail her at email@example.com.