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5 Tips to Surviving the Holidays

Remember when you were a kid and it felt like Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice would never get here?! Even after all the Halloween candy was gone, it was an agonizing wait till Thanksgiving, let alone the gift-gettin’ days!

Fast-forward a few years (decades) and a couple of major life-changes (spouse, kids) and find yourself aggressively interrogating strangers at the grocery store, “Can you believe it’s November already?!” and at the bank, “Where has this year gone?!”

Welcome to adulthood, where the magical spirit of the holidays has been replaced with Black Friday free-for-alls and cooking for 20 people, many of whom you may not like very much. No, Santa can’t save you from the holidays, but here’s 5 tips to help you survive:

Embrace It

Every year you wonder where the time went, buy too much, eat too much, over-extend yourself, and say, “Never again!” Every year you also honestly enjoy yourself (at least a little bit), relish the time with family, apologize for complaining, and pout when it’s over. This year embrace the chaos.

Take A Time-Out

While you’re planning the menu, scoping the sales, and writing the cards – schedule some down-time and actually take it! Insisting on doing everything yourself (then griping about it) and running yourself ragged (then suffering) is no way for you (or anyone else) to enjoy the holidays. Everything will get done, or it wasn’t that important to begin with.

Healthy Indulgence

The holidays are the worst time to start a diet and beating yourself up over every sip of eggnog is no way to live! On the other hand, canceling your gym membership and eating an entire fruitcake isn’t exactly on the nice list either. This year strive for balance. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, then enjoy a few bites of that chocolate reindeer that is calling your name!

Be Nice

This is the time of year when everyone over the age of 18 is busy, bothered, and broke. Lines are long, tempers are short, and no gift is worth a bloody nose or a criminal record. Yes, your monster-in-law will complain about the potatoes, comment on your parenting, and rearrange your living room but eventually, she’ll go home. This year simply smile, sneak a shot of Johnny Walker Black, and do all your shopping on off-hours during the day or even online.

Be Mindful

Remember: Days are long, but years are short. Every time you hear yourself telling someone you can’t believe it’s already November, take a deep breath. This year give yourself the gift of being present. Instead of thinking about what else you should have donated to the homeless shelter or worrying about cleaning up the wrapping paper before it’s even off the gifts, just be.
While easier said than done, with a little practice (and a quarter of the determination you spent finding the PERFECT gift for your veterinarian’s receptionist) you can learn to be mindful in the moment. The precious time you get with your children/parents/spouse/friends/pets is fleeting, cherish every single second.

It’s ironic that the period celebrating peace, love, and unity also happens to be fraught with anxiety, angst, and fist-fights over parking spots – though it doesn’t have to be. Choose to remember YOUR reason for the season and if all else fails, hit up any drug store starting January 1st, they’ll already be set up for Valentine’s Day.

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