If your holiday memories recall Dickens — “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” — it’s high time you create a new game plan. While a certain amount of stress comes with the season, a few simple steps can tip the scales toward joy. Here are a few helpful tips for letting the magic of the holidays shine through: Cover your bases.
The daily habits that keep you feeling good all year, like regular exercise, sound sleep, and nourishing meals, can slip away during the holidays faster than you can whistle “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” But you need them now more than ever. Resist the urge to burn the midnight oil wrapping gifts, stick with your morning walk, and find five minutes a day to sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. That inner calm will help you manage any “outer” chaos. Less is more.
Instead of bouncing around to four holiday parties in a night, pick one (at most, two). If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, keep your menu simple and nourishing rather than elaborate — and take people up on their offers to help. Brainstorm ways to simplify gift-giving with your family and friends, such as doing a Yankee swap or going in on a group experience. Focus on fun.
There is nothing like music to transform drudgery into delight! Crank up your favorite tunes, whether Jay-Z or Tchaikovsky, and you’ll find yourself sailing through tasks with a smile. Splice in a family dance party for extra credit, extra exercise — and extra endorphins.