By Megan Gunnell, Special to the Daily Tribune
We could all stand to reduce our stress this holiday season. How many times do you find yourself rolling into New Year’s saying “Next year I’m doing this differently.”
Deep in our hearts we understand that simplifying our lives supports a more enjoyable, relaxed holiday season. Yet we continue to complicate and over think many holiday decisions and plans, leaving us feeling exhausted and overextended with little or no energy left to really be in the moment.
This year, I encourage you to stop and think. Stop and think before over committing and saying “yes” to every holiday party and event you’re invited to. Stop and think before making purchases and stick to your list. Stop and think before decorating or baking, and ask yourself: Is this contributing to your quality of life, or increasing your stress level?
Maybe this year it’s time to really simplify. Are there holiday traditions that you can streamline or modify? For example, instead of the $10 or $20 office gift exchange, how about suggesting a charity or cause to contribute to instead? Do you typically bake a large assortment of cookies in small batches to give out to guests or neighbors? Maybe it would be a good idea to pick two of your favorite recipes and bake a double batch instead. Living more simply and minimizing the feeling of being overcommitted can significantly improve your mood and reduce your anxiety level during the holiday season.
Let’s also take a moment to remember what is really important during the holidays. What is meaningful to you? What matters the most to your family, your children, your spouse or partner? Are you able to simplify and allow yourself to be more present with what is right in front of you, rather than thinking of the next thing on your list, next party or event? At the end of the day, the holidays should remind us of a time of peace and joy. I am certain one way to get there is to simplify and not over extend yourself.
Maybe this is your season to really slow down. Perhaps this is your season to take in the holidays through your senses. Maybe this is your season to pay attention to the quality and meaningfulness of the relationships in your life. Maybe this is your season to commit to the philosophy of “less is more.”
Let this be the season to simplify.