Five Tips For Keeping Your Sanity During The Holiday Season

Five Tips For Keeping Your Sanity During The Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us and bringing with them more ups and downs than a fiddler’s bow.

The holiday season begins around Halloween and hits its first plateau at Thanksgiving before building to a frantic crescendo between Christmas and New Years.  By the time we get into the New Year we’re weary, worn out, and weigh more than Santa himself.  But salvation is close at hand since we still have our New Year’s resolutions to pardon us of our past indulgences by replacing them with massive restrictions.  That’s the cycle of the Holiday Season; indulgence, salvation, restriction, repeat.  Who said it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Here are five simple tips to help you keep your balance and self-respect long after everyone else has lost theirs.

1. Act Your Age!

The holidays often mean family, and it’s a known fact that when families get together everyone regresses back to their childhood positions in the family unit.  If you’re under 12 years of age you have nothing to worry about, but if you’re older than 12 then you won’t be for long once the family gets together.  When families reunite, everyone becomes 12 years old again.  This year before the family gathering remind yourself to act your age, not the age you were when you were actually living at home.

2. Don’t Drink and Talk!

Never drink and talk at the same time.  Alcohol often lubricates an otherwise dull conversation.  And, if there was ever two things that don’t mix well it’s talking and drinking.  You can talk and eat, eat and drink, but you’re tempting fate if you try to talk and drink.  Why?  Because when families start talking they inevitably end up storytelling.  Not bad if it’s a good story, but often all the unresolved stories in the family’s history begin to get rehashed while the wine keeps flowing.  Before you know it, everyone is 12 years old again!  Take this pointer seriously, don’t reminisce with your family unless you drink enough alcohol to forget the entire night.  Stay superficial, casual and light.  You’ll be glad you did.

3. Manage Your Stress.

You can’t see stress and you can’t touch it, but you can certainly feel it.  Family gatherings around the holidays are the most stressful times of the year.  If we’re travelling then we’re dealing with crowds, delays and timelines.  If we’re hosting then we’re dealing with preparation, anticipation and cramped quarters.  If we’re not doing anything then we’re dealing with all the people who are doing so much that it makes it difficult for us to do anything but stay home.  Around the holidays there’s money stress, gift stress, gift wrapping stress, gift opening stress, and guilt stress.  Expectations are high and the sweet sound of holiday music can make you go mad if you hear it on one more street corner or in one more mall.  Stress is cumulative so the best way to avoid it is to be aware of it, but since you can’t smell it you have to perceive it.  Just know, no matter how you feel during the holidays you’re dealing with stress, even if it’s just the stress of everyone else’s stress.

4. Keep Moving!

The holidays require a lot of sitting around.  We sit and eat, and eat.  We sit and visit.  We sit and drink.  We sit and watch football.  We sit a lot.  My suggestion is to take the first child or dog you see and head outside.  Let yourself laugh and be free.  Move around.  Get your blood flowing.  It helps with digestion, it relieves stress, and it gets you ready for another round of food without the guilt of gluttony.  Take the whole family on a walk.  Different discussions happen when people are moving rather than sitting.  You can tap into the landscape and nature rather than tapping into old memories and repetitive stories.  You also get a chance to replace alcohol with water.  Keep moving to have a better holiday.

5. Know the 3 G’s.

If all else fails there is always one thing that rises above all others to save the holiday season, the 3 G’s-  Gratitude, Grace and Goodness, not Gifts, Giving and Getting.  Don’t forget the 3 G’s.  Repeat them.  Practice them.  Share them.  It’s what makes the spirit of the season so wonderful.

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10 Comments
  1. Patrece says:

    What well thought out reminders, Larry. They hit my soul level and have therefore already become a part of my holiday “plans.” Many thanks now and throughout the holidays.

    • Larry says:

      Thanks Patrece,
      The holiday season is the most spirited time of the year and sometimes the spirit carries us away. Still, it’s “the most wonderful” if you play it right.
      Larry

  2. Roberta York says:

    My 3 g’s: Guilt, Guilt, & Guilt!!!
    Love the 5 tips…

    • Larry says:

      Hi Roberta,
      Guilt, a close cousin to remorse, is what New Years resolutions are designed to dissolve us of. It all evens out in the end.
      Larry

  3. Tera Lane says:

    EXCELLENT Words of Wisdom, Larry!

  4. Bonnie Beck says:

    Larry, have a beautiful and meaningful Winter Solstice!

    • Larry says:

      Thank you Bonnie,
      The spirit of the season begins with the Solstice. Hope it takes you directly to a smooth entry into the New Year.
      Larry

  5. Dianne says:

    Hi Larry,
    Thank you for your words. I will share them. The three G’s are my favorites.

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