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Ah. Yes... 2020. The year that nothing went as planned, yet somehow we made it all work. That is what you’ll be saying 10 years from now when you look back on the holiday season.
Without a doubt, this year has posed a tremendous number of difficulties for everyone. Our usual routines have been uprooted and we’ve been forced to adapt to the new normal. Like many things in life, change is tough at first, but gets easier overtime. It’s like building a habit - you stick to it for the first week, it falls apart the second and then you tweak it to fit your lifestyle. Then one day, boom. It’s an unconscious habit!
This holiday season, there will be plenty of changes, which brings some excitement, nervousness and stress along with it. In this blog post, we’ll be focusing on how to keep things simple and stress-free during this most unusual holiday season.
It should go without saying that stress does some...well... not too wonderful things to our health. It can lead us to getting poor quality sleep, craving all things sugar and caffeine related, cause frequent mood swings and even age us! Let’s scrap the stress this year and stick to the basics. Interpret that as you wish - Starbucks Gingerbread lattes and cozy reading sessions by the fire with knitted socks? We won’t judge!
Keeping It Simple:
Step One: Determine Your Priorities
For many of us, the big family dinners and celebrations will look a little different this year. Aunt Lacey might tune in via zoom, Uncle Jarred might be sitting 6 feet away from you and your mom might be trying to steal a bite of your pumpkin pie from your plate. Whether we’re together in person or via Zoom, it is the intention that matters. To keep things simple this year, determine what you want to prioritize. In previous years, you might have had a running list of family traditions that you did together as a group. This year, pick your favourites that you can do safely and with the least amount of stress as it’ll likely require to do some rejigging with the new rules. If having a big family dinner is a priority of yours, set the date, time and plan for enough devices to have the members of your family join you via Zoom, Facetime or Facebook Video! If secret Santa is a big deal for your family, try to keep the pool smaller by hosting it within your immediate family, or your close group of friends. If you’re more of a lover of finding unique Christmas gifts at festival markets, try your hand at some DIY gifts for your loved ones! Whatever your family festivies are, pick the ones that mean the most to you, that involve the least amount of stress and are the ones that bring you the most joy. After this past year we’ve had, the more smiles we can share, the merrier!
Step Two: Plan Ahead
Planning is everything when it comes to the holiday season this year. The usual quantities of our favorites likely won’t be available. Plan your holiday menu, gift giving and any decorations you need to make your house look like the inside of Santa’s Workshop! This tip, combined with the first tip, pick your priorities, will save you the stress of racing around trying to find a turkey on December 24th!
Step Three: Build New Traditions
Many of our Christmas traditions will look a lot different this year. If you’re planning on going caroling, fare warning, many people likely won’t be opening their doors wide open with joy this year. Like I mentioned in the first tip, stick to the holiday traditions that you can enjoy safely and with next to zero stress! In place of the holiday traditions that we will have to put on hold for this year, try creating new ones that your family will enjoy. Get creative - decorate gingerbread houses or have a popcorn garland eating competition! If you’re more of the creative type, whip out some paper and make some paper snowflakes that you can use to decorate the house! If you’re lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood where there are Christmas lights and decorations set up, take the family out for a nighttime drive with hot chocolate packed in thermoses. And when in doubt, if all else fails, turn on the fireplace channel on the television, pull out a board game and serve everyone a warm slice of apple pie. Works everytime.
Step Four: Self Care
These two words are under rated and over looked. Some people feel ashamed for taking time for self-care. But in reality, we can’t pour from an empty cup! If your family is expecting you to be your jinggly and bright self, you better start caring for yourself like a pro! When the words self-care pop up, most women think of getting their nail or hair done, going shopping, having a girls night or watching a movie. Guys on the other hand, don’t use the word too often, but I’m sure images of them watching the sports game with pizza and beer comes to mind! This year, I challenge you to get outside for your self care! With the change in pace and our new normal, a lot of us have been bundled up indoors more than we should be. Take a few moments to get outside and go for a walk, enjoy the fresh air and the exercise. If you’re looking for an indoor activity, pick up your favourite book, make some decorative cookies, have a bubble bath or watch your favourite movie. If you have a family our others in your household, communicate your needs clearly, ask for help and delegate some of the items on your to-do list. Whatever it is that you choose to do with the time you can carve out in what is left of this crazy year, do it for you. Fill your cup, before you pour into the cups of others. Ensuring your battery is charged before you bounce around the house like the energizer bunny is a recipe for success when it comes to the holiday season this year!
Lindsay Mustard is a Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Instructor and recipe-wizard with a burning passion for health and fitness. In her nutrition practice, Lindsay works with clients to craft a unique plan that is tailored to their specific health goals using a natural, whole food and supplement approach.