Julie Fogel, Community Support Program Case Managerpexels-photo-3

In some countries, the word “holiday” means the same as “vacation”.  That being said, most of us would find this difficult….perhaps even impossible to believe.  It’s no secret that holidays are often filled with “want to do” and “need to do” tasks” which result in our personal expectations being higher than usual.  When daily life events negatively impact our attempt to make a memorable holiday season, we often feel stressed, disappointed and exhausted. So, as you start to prepare for the holiday season, ask yourself…

“Are my holiday expectations realistic and practical?”

As you plan for gatherings at your home, ask others to bring their favorite dish to share.  Consider purchasing items that are pre-made rather than preparing everything yourself.  Are there items that can be made ahead of time and frozen?  Is eating out or catering an option?  Can hors d’oeuvres and snack like food be served rather than an entire meal?

When shopping, ask yourself if gift cards or charitable contributions are an option. What about the gift of time after the holidays such as a homemade “certificate” for lunch?  Rather than purchasing individual gifts, is a family gift an option?  Do gifts even need to be purchased? What about a “white elephant” exchange?

Don’t be afraid to set limits for yourself and others.  If family events are too stressful/difficult, limit the amount of time you attend or reply that you are unable to attend.   Talk with friends/family about establishing a yearly get together at another time of the year.  Don’t be afraid to say “No” in order to allow time for yourself.

Last but certainly not least, take time to care for yourself!  Healthy food choices, adequate sleep, exercise, frequent hand-washing and time alone cannot only assist you with feeling less stressed, but will also promote your overall health!

No matter where you go, what you do, or who you are with, may your holiday season be filled with peace, health and special memories!