Monday, December 22, 2014

☺ How to Survive and Enjoy the Holidays! ☺

*Originally posted December 2013--coming back for some Holiday Cheer! ;)*

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Christmas, it's the most wonderful time of the year! Or at least… it's supposed to be. All in all, the holiday season can be a bit dodgy. If your family is dysfunctional then chances are that it gets brought out that much more during the holiday season. Then there's all the money being spent and presents to buy and plans to make that can cause some more stress. However, truthfully, stress is always there, it's whether or not we are choosing to draw it out or let it slide off our backs and keep smiling. I'm rooting for the latter. And in rooting for the latter, I propose…

Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season (with a great big smile on your face!)

Remember to Breathe! 
Perhaps the most valuable and helpful thing you can do this chaotic time of year is to just simply take a step back and remember to breathe. Take a time out. Focus on your breath, clear your mind, and try smiling. Sometimes all you need is a couple of minutes to recuperate and find your centre, other times you may need a couple of hours; but however long it may be, take that for yourself, because things will flow a lot more smoothly when you centre and balance yourself. 
And be sure to brew a pot of herbal tea, sit down with a book or magazine and just take a break from the world every now and then. 
Drop Expectations!
Despite what we may so desperately want to believe at times, christmas day and the holidays are never perfect. Not setting yourself up for disappointment is important. That being said, I'm not encouraging you to mope around and accept that the holidays suck and are joyless. No, no, no. Instead, enjoy what's in front of you and make the most and best of it all, just know that things can go wrong and things are never perfect; but those stresses and disappointments can vanish away when you focus on joy, and of being around loved ones. So that doesn't mean you can't still have a damn amazing christmas, it's all in your perception and being happy with what Is!

“Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.” ~Unknown

Choose to Enjoy the Holiday Season!
Reality is what we make it. Perception is everything. We may not have control over many things in life, but what we do have control over is how we deal with things. Be realistic and optimistic. For instance: it's a busy time of year, so know and prepare yourself that the stores are going to be busier and lineups may take longer; traffic may be slower; and other unexpected things can happen. But you can control your mood and decide your happiness. Set your mind on Enjoying the Holiday Season and you will! Look around and recognize the beauty around you. In family or other social gatherings, avoid the people you have a hard time with and spend more time with the people you like. Focus on joy and you will make it your experience. 

(re)Read ReLove's post "Holiday Season; Stress, Family, & Bringing Back the Magic"!  
I wrote this post two years ago and I find it relevant every holiday season. Sadly, family can be such a stressor and this post addresses this and how you can get through the holiday season with more joy and realizing that no one's family is perfect, and that's okay. 

Take care of Yourself! 
I know it's the time of year when we tend to drink more, eat foods we shouldn't, splurge, and generally neglect actually caring for ourselves a bit (or a lot). I'm not saying don't enjoy those things, but remember to do everything in moderation and to take special care to balance things out when you do. Don't act like those things won't effect your health. 
I like to recommend taking these extra steps to maintain health of your body and your mind; exercise daily (even if its taking a walk), gets lots of rest and sleep, take a multi-vitamin (and/or a B-complex, Vitamin C & magnesium, and D Drops), drink Lots of water, smile lots (I call this smile therapy), and balance out your eating habits by consuming extra veggies, greens, healthy proteins, and fresh juice when you can.   

Have a Healthy Christmas! 
Ah the Holiday season, time to stuff our faces full of sugar and bad-for-you food. Did I mention this already? Oh no, silly me. But! It needs emphasis! Now, I'm not saying it's not fun to indulge a little, but you Can enjoy the holiday season treats and still actually be healthy--who knew?! There are so many healthy and amazingly delicious recipe alternatives to butter and wheat and sugar filled crap that your body wants nothing to do with. Why sacrifice the love of your body and health when you don't have to? Try new recipes, try something different, and fall in love with healthy food--I promise you won't regret it! 
Replace gmo for organic. Replace the turkey for vegetarian and vegan alternatives--or if you're not going to replace the turkey, then offer more vegan alternatives for the health-conscious guests. Make your own egg nog! Replace refined sugar with organic cane sugar, stevia, agave, maple syrup, or anything other than refined sugar! 
Indulging is fun, and you can still do it by all means, but choose the healthier options, because they are still ridiculously delicious and your body and mind and health will thank you for it! 

Oh dear, I mentioned this one already too, didn't I? Well! It's pretty easy to fall out of exercise habits during this time of year, and I'm not here to tell you not to take it easy, but, you should still put in some effort for your health--especially if you plan on stuffing yourself full of unhealthy food. Do some yoga sessions; this will also help to centre and calm your busy mind. Go for a twenty minute walk, that's all you really need. Get together with some friends and play ice hokey, go snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating. Dance around your living room while you crank terrible pop music and do some baking. ;) Just get at least a little active; again, your body And Mind will thank you!   

Be a Kid! 
I think part of the magic of christmas is the nostalgia of childhood, and so what a perfect excuse to be a big kid! If you have younger siblings, or nieces or nephews, or grandkids, or kids of your own, then be a kid with them: be silly, be giddy, and laugh a lot. Personally, I plan on watching cartoons on christmas day with family, a little piece of my childhood--hoorah!    

Be Giving!
Part of the joys of gifts around the holidays is the actual Giving. I love the giving far more than the receiving. But there are those that have a hard time during the holidays and don't get to take part in the love of receiving either. Do your soul some good and be a little extra giving. Buy gifts for unexpected strangers, or those you know need it; sponsor a family for christmas to buy their presents who can't afford it; volunteer at the soup kitchen; go out and give meals to the homeless; volunteer at an animal shelter. Do your part and spread a little extra joy!  

Have a Green Christmas!
With climate change taunting us at every turn, I think it's important to consider being green this holiday season. I mean, egypt had snow for the first time in over 100 years! And all the madness we are seeing around the world should scream that action needs to be taken by each and every one of us. 
So! Check out ReLove's Holiday Green Tips! Simple and easy switches and things you can do to make your holiday season that much more respectful to mother earth and the animals that live here! ;) Every action counts! 

Respect Your Self! 
I feel like this needs special emphasis at this time of year. Be kind and loving towards yourself. You are not here for people to walk all over you, know when to remove yourself from a situation or when someone has crossed the line with you. You can still respect and be kind to other people and still respect and be kind to yourself. Remember that.  

Give out Free Hugs! 
Remember, because it's just that caring time of year. Spread love and joy onto others, it could remind them to smile and of the beauty that exists in the world. So go out and give out a few random hugs to strangers--and of course the people you love. 

Don’t isolate yourself.  
Being an introvert myself, too many social events and busy busy go-go time can definitely overload the circuits. Which is why Point #1 of this post is so vital. That being said, for those feeling depressed or in grief, a sense of loneliness often becomes stronger during the holidays. That’s why it’s important to break out of any self-imposed exile. Accept invitations, do some volunteer work, call up good friends, Do socialize, and try not to spend too much time by yourself.

Rely on YourSelf for Happiness! 
Remember that no one is responsible for your own happiness but You. Happiness is not something to chase after or that you "achieve." It is not something that can be bought, found in expensive "things" you don't need. And you certainly should not or cannot rely on another person for your Happiness. Only You are responsible for making yourself Happy, because Happiness comes from within. And because Happiness is a Choice. 

Wishing you all a magical and joyful Holiday Season! Keep those smiles brimming and joy spilling over to those around you! :)  
Much love from me to you! 


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