How To Get Ready For The Holidays

To get ready for the holidays we want you to remember and focus on what is most important to you. Sure, we could give you tips and advice on how to plan a holiday party, get the shopping done, and prepare and cook the most amazing holiday meal – but frankly this would only add to your holiday stress levels.

We want this year to be different for you. We want you to keep your focus on the really important aspect of the holidays – people. When you focus on people, it’s so much easier to get ready for the holidays and keep everything in perspective.

For us on the AHCC Research team, this means focusing on spending quality time with family and friends. How we do this is different for each of us.  Some of us like to have big family meals that last hours, others enjoy quiet time with a few key friends and family members, and then there are the impromptu games nights, dessert parties, and movie nights.

Above all else, it’s important that you do what feels right for you. Too many people become overwhelmed with expectations that turn the holidays into a stressful experience that often leaves them with illness, headaches, digestion problems, and anxiety.

To help you get ready for the holidays, we’ve put together a list of tips and advice that can help you look forward to and enjoy the holidays.

Stick To Your Daily Routine 

The daily routine that you follow on a daily basis should remain during the holidays. This daily routine is critical in keeping you grounded and helping everyone around you functioning at a high level. If you normally go for a run before breakfast or start the day with a quiet solo breakfast or like to get a few hours of work done in the early hours – keep doing this. The evening can become hectic with holiday concerts, parties, shopping, and get togethers – but we want you to remember the impacts of multiple late nights, haphazard suppers, or missing out on your nightly routine of a quiet bath, reading in bed, or catching up with your family members. When you stick to your daily routine, it’s easier for those around you to do the same, this helps keep everyone in the house more relaxed and stress-free.

Put Yourself First 

During the holidays, it’s very easy to think about what everyone else needs or wants. Helping and pleasing others is a very rewarding experience but don’t do this to the point that you’re putting yourself second. When you put yourself second over and over again, you end up neglecting your physical and mental health. Yes, do go shopping but don’t skip supper so you can hit the mall. Yes, do go to the holiday school concert, but don’t try to cook an elaborate meal beforehand. Think about balance and remember that when you’re worn out, you really won’t enjoy the holidays. 

Volunteer In Your Community 

This year, instead of a big gift exchange or cooking a super fancy meal – why not get together with friends and family to volunteer in your community. Take the money you were going to spend on gifts for one another and donate it to a local food bank or sponsor a family. Spend a morning or afternoon at your local soup kitchen serving meals and chatting with people who are alone during the holidays. Volunteering has an amazing effect of giving you perspective and reminding you how lucky you truly are. Not to mention – it feels great to do something nice for a stranger. 

Attitude Of Gratitude 

The holiday season is not what it used to be. Somewhere the lines became blurred and the holidays became less about people and more about buying and shopping. Take a step back and look around to realize how fortunate you and your family are. Appreciate the small things that make your days full and happy. You might even want to start writing a daily gratitude list – as you’re starting your day, set aside five minutes to write down 5 – 10 things you’re grateful for. Do this every day and gradually you’ll have a tremendous list of amazing life gifts to look at when the days become stressful and hectic.

Give Up On Perfection

We hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as perfection. Once you recognize this, the holidays become so much more enjoyable and relaxing. There is no such thing as the perfect gift, outfit, turkey, dessert, or holiday party. No matter how much planning, overthinking, and list-making you do – things will go wrong. This is okay, it’s called real life. 

Laugh Out Loud

When was the last time you really laughed out loud? Ask your kids or partner to tell you their best corny joke. Watch a funny movie. Sing your favorite songs out loud at the top of your lungs. Have a laughing contest with your family members. When something crazy happens – a new work deadline, burned cookies, or a traffic jam – respond with laughter and remember it’s really just a small blip that you’ll soon forget.

Get Some Fresh Air Daily 

Fresh air is so good for you. Whether it’s keeping up your evening walk, going sledding with the kids, standing on the front porch as you drink your morning coffee, or turning driving errands into cycling or walking errands – get a daily (or more) does of fresh air. Your body and soul will benefit from the lift that comes with breathing in fresh air and seeing the bright blue sky or night stars. 

Surround Yourself With Good People

The holidays often mean you attend parties and events with people you don’t normally choose to spend time with. When this happens, find someone at the office party or event that you know and like – hang out with this person. Don’t feel obligated to spend time with people who impact you negatively. Remember you have to put yourself first and do what is best for you.

Say No

Above all else, don’t agree to every invitation and demand for your time and energy. Say no to any party or request that fills you with a sense of dread, dislike, or anxiety. Only say yes to the events and obligations that you want to do. Doing so ensures that you will have enough time, energy, and motivation to enjoy the holiday commitments.

Take Control Of Your Holiday Season

Stress can easily take over and ruin your holidays. This year do the holidays differently. Focus on the people most important to you and the holiday commitments that fill you up with good feelings. The holiday season is so short that it’s important to enjoy it. When you focus on people, it’s much easier to plan for and have a relaxing holiday season.

Visit the AHCC Research Facebook community page and share how you’re getting ready for the holidays. What are your tips on how to handle holiday stress? How do you put people first during the holiday season?