By Nichole A. Cavallaro
Something happens literally right after Halloween. The day of Nov. 1 somehow merges into this hybrid of controlled, chaotic brainstorming of Thanks-Mas. That’s what I like to call the obvious two holidays at the end of the year that I and my family celebrate. And this can go along with Hanukah and Kwanzaa too! Planning for the holidays is – stressful. Per my usual writing pattern, I’ve listed a few of my suggestions to cope with the stress, so hopefully it can be easy to preserve some inner peace and have a joyous time.
- Reread that last sentence. I used the word “preserve” some inner peace. Change your usual mantra of “I don’t have enough or any time” to “How much of my energy am I going to preserve tonight, tomorrow, this weekend?” You can’t get time back nor can you preserve it. Your energy, you can. This is a hard one to practice, but my favorite tip.
- Stick to your diet or eating lifestyle. I’m not a nutrition expert, but we aren’t alive to deprive. So if you are watching your sugar, fat, salt intake, etc, stick to it and eat in moderation. You don’t want to be miserable if you can have a treat. Now if you cannot, in fact, have certain things, be mindful of your limits and understand it’s for your benefit that you need to refuse the heavy cheese or the sugary dessert. Be mindful.
- If you’re shopping, set your budget or limit. Get the number in your mind and challenge yourself to stay under it. Make it realistic, too! Also, it’s okay to get something for yourself. Giving to others is wonderful and giving to yourself is irreplaceable.
- Awkward family history under one roof? Yep, this is a fun topic. I get it, because I have the same predicament every year. I think the simplest way to put it would be “see each person in your home as a PERSON, not as a Parent, Sibling, Cousin, Mean Uncle, Snobby Aunt, etc.” It’s an interesting angle to see these dynamics from. You are not doing this for them, you are doing this for you and your inner peace, remember? Inner peace is the intention.
- Lower your personal expectations. Are you expecting yourself to be the perfect hostess, the perfect gift giver or the perfect anything this year? Erase that mentality, because perfection does not exist so you will forever be defeated. Aim for your best. I bet your best is amazing! No one who loves you will think less of you if your home doesn’t look like an insert out of Magnolia House Journal.
- Make your Christmas list of the people you plan on gifting to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Yeah, I can keep it in my head, it’s fine.” It’s not fine. I get confused, overwhelmed and sweaty running around Target, Ulta, the mall, etc., all because my mind is not the place a list goes. Especially at this time of year when things are extra sparkly and shiny!
- Crowded stores trigger your anxiety? Oh my gosh funny story, mine too. I prefer online shopping like 90 percent of the population! However, late in the evening, I do make an appearance at some stores and go in “just to look and if I see something great, if not, then I’m good.” That’s the actual self-talk I engage in while driving to said store.
- If you are having a particularly hard time around this time of year, which is normal for many folks, be sure to seek any support through friends, family or professional guidance. This can also be done at your place of worship for some internal clarity.
I wish you a blessed holiday season. Stay safe and take care of yourself and one another.