Yesterday, I received an alert from Pinterest that “green bean casserole” is trending this week.
I guess the great race to the holiday season is on!
Like many of you, I actually felt panic set in the day after Halloween when my morning Starbucks arrived in . . . say what? . . . a GREEN cup! After last year’s controversy, all I could think was, “How could they do this to us? We asked for snowflakes and reindeer!”
There’s no doubt the holiday messages come earlier and earlier each year, and they can do a number on our wellness if we’re not careful.
While many people EMBRACE their white peppermint mocha in a green cup and begin to make detailed to-do lists around holiday occasions and gift giving, there are others like me who tend to ESCALATE seasonal stress until we arrive at the New Year in an exhausted, overfed, underexercised heap.
If you’re feeling the rumblings of holiday stress in the form of sleepless nights, anxious days, and waning wellness motivation, maybe you’ll join me this year and press the pause button for a moment.
There’s plenty of time for us to get on board with Santa’s happier helpers, and set in motion a healthier approach to seasonal stress.
Here are my top five tips to help you EMBRACE the holiday season ahead:
#1 Start Small
Mindfulness expert, Pema Chodron, instructs, “Start with traffic jams.” The green Starbucks cup, the fully decorated holiday tree that appeared at the mall on November 1st, the Christmas carols that invade your morning commute to work—-all the tiny, early holiday annoyances are good practice for managing the bigger stresses ahead.
#2 Make a Deeper Connection
We know the holiday season is so much more than the hype and gifts piled high under the tree. Taking the time to define what that “true meaning” is for you could help you avoid being pulled into the frenzy.
#3 Take Advantage of the Early Bird Approach
Actually, the stores have it right. They start early with their efforts to ensure a successful season in the end. What if you EMBRACED this approach and got a jump on your holiday to-do list? Shorter lines, store shelves full of items, early bird sales . . .
#4 Consider Making a Decision Around that One Annoying Thing
Do you have one particularly stressful aspect of your holiday that nags at you from the get-go and puts a damper on your outlook? Maybe it’s a long standing holiday tradition that has become more stressful than it’s worth, or a family recipe that just doesn’t fit into the new healthy you.
#5 Put Yourself First!
No, this is not a selfish “me before you” suggestion. Instead, EMBRACING a wellness centered approach to the holidays by continuing to eat healthfully, exercise daily, and get enough rest actually says, “me, so I can be there for you.”
Sure, escalating holiday stress makes for fun chit-chat when we’re waiting in line for our morning caffeine fix. But at some point it becomes counterproductive, increasing anxiety and feelings of “when will this be over?”
Besides, these things tend to work themselves out.
The calendar pages fall away and our to-do list gets done, the holiday delivers unexpected moments of magic that can only be experienced at this time of year, and Starbucks eventually comes around to EMBRACE our vision of the perfect Christmas; a beautiful red cup dotted with tiny snowflakes.
We do have a choice . . . and I know what mine is going to be. What’s yours?
Feel good. Be well.
Wellness Prompt: I’ve suggested several easy action steps you could take to get your holiday started off on the right foot. Does anything catch your attention? What usually trips you up the most . . . food, relationships, gift buying, lack of time? What one thing could you do to EMBRACE a healthier approach this year? I’d love to know!