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Trying to enjoy the holiday season?

So here we are.

In December. The holiday season is in full swing.

Christmas music. Sales. Lights. Shopping lists. Parties. Family drama. Sugar.

When I was younger, I LOVED the holidays. I had a CD that I burned (people don't do this anymore?!), with all of my favorite holiday songs including Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas...

I would sing along for weeks. I would drive by the best decorated homes. I would put so much energy and time into special gifts for my loved ones.

I felt like a kid and I guess I kind of still was...

Ten years ago, when I was 20, my grandfather passed away just 10 days before Christmas. It put a little damper on the holiday season, especially seeing my dad so sad.

Then the past couple of years have been pretty heavy with the losses in my family and my health issues. As a business owner, there are way more stressors around the holiday season, too. I have employees and their families to think about. Dinners and gifts to plan. I have to hope things don't slow down too much because the bills still roll in no matter what. And at home I feel there is never enough time to decorate, get together with family and friends, shop, cook, etc. There is also the frustration with the lights that never seem to work and the broken ornaments, when you just want everything to turn out perfect!

The holidays have felt more anxiety-ridden, emotional, overwhelming and exhausting than years past. Do you feel this way?

It has been a little hard to enjoy the holidays, but this year I want to find some magic again.

So I thought I would share a few things I am going to do in order to remember what the holidays are all about and to stay as stress-free as possible. I hope these tips help you to find some light this holiday season if needed!

1. Go for walks

It's a little cold out, but the air is so refreshing. I typically walk my dog all winter long unless there's too much snow. I am going to try to walk him as much as possible because nature always helps to clear my mind, get my blood flowing and gives me a break working. Try to walk a couple of times during the week to get some fresh air.

2. Give to those in need

This is the giving season, but it's not about just buying for our own family and friends. There are many people who can't afford to buy their kids gifts or elderly people who can't cook or shop. I usually choose at least one or two causes that speak to my heart and will donate money, gifts or food. I always love the giving trees where you grab a tag to buy toys for a child in need. Or donating canned goods to local charities. Or donating business products for raffle items for a non-profit fundraiser. Choose a cause or two to focus on. Honestly, giving will fill your heart and ease stress.

3. Shop local

I am trying my best to shop local and support other small businesses every year. I won't give my gift ideas away, but I am purchasing hand-made bath products, local jewelry and art, gift certificates to restaurants and wellness shops and more. Think about local stores and see what you can get there instead of at the mall or online. I'm sure you will appreciate the quality services and products because we know that doesn't happen online. The store owners will appreciate your business and you can feel good about where your hard-earned money is going.

4. Hand-write cards

As you may already know, I love words. I love to write personal notes but don't always make the time for it. I am going to send cards with hand-written notes to special people in my life. I feel this gives a special touch and shows people how much they are valued and appreciated. Take time to write some notes to people that have touched your life this year. It will make both of you feel good!

5. Enjoy decorations

We already got our tree! Yes, it is sitting there half-decorated, but we are pretty proud of ourselves for not getting stuck picking out whatever is left the week before Christmas! We will be pulling out more decorations and getting the pumpkins off the lawn very soon. I am hoping to enjoy this process. I want to play good music and maybe get a new star for the tree since we inherited this one and it's time for an update. Last night we went to our small town's Christmas stroll. It was so fun to see the decorations and all the kids lining up to see Santa and get some yummy treats. I want to make time to slow down and enjoy the decorations around town. Try to find time to enjoy your town's festivities.

6. Watch holiday movies

I love watching movies. I am craving some time on a chilly night to cuddle up with my hubby and dog by the decorated tree, light a fire, and watch some of my favorites like Home Alone 2, The Santa Clause, It's a Wonderful Life, The Grinch, and A Christmas Story. Of course I will incorporate some homemade spicy hot cocoa too. Spend time with your loved ones to laugh and reminisce with movies and other activities to get you in the holiday spirit.

7. Get a massage

This one is already scheduled! Since I haven't been able to get to much yoga and I've traveled a bit, my neck has been super tight and my lower back has been achy. Instead of suffering through, I decided to book a massage with one of my favorite local therapists. I know booking it in advance helps since I won't keep avoiding to do it. I will be much less tense once I get this over-due massage soon. Book yourself some self-care time to release some stress and tension. The wrapping can wait!

8. Time with niece and nephew

What is more magical than spending time with kids around the holidays? I love watching kids see Santa, open gifts, play with toys and witness their pure imaginations. Luckily my 7-month old niece and 10-year old nephew live close by. I am hoping to have time with them and of course I will be getting them gifts. I will also be getting my dog and cat gifts of course! Carve time out to be with kids and animals since they are able to be in the present moment and remind us of the magic this time of year.

9. Rest

Yes, this has to be a priority. I am in the healing process for SIBO and it's been a long road. I have come far, but if I don't rest, I feel awful. I want to have enough energy to enjoy the holidays so I need to carve out time to take naps, get to bed early, take baths and do whatever to nourish my body and mind. I am not able to push myself to exhaustion with shopping, cooking and decorating. Since it's coming into winter-time, it is the season to slow down and hibernate, which my body is craving after a busy summer. Find time to rest whenever possible. You will need as much energy as possible to get through the holidays and new year.

Will any of this help you enjoy the holiday season a bit more? Don't let the stress and expenses get to you. Be creative. Enjoy time with loved ones. Breathe. Lie down. Drink herbal tea. Do whatever you need to do to take care of you this holiday season and find some magic in it all.

Enjoy it because it all goes by so quickly.

Lots of love,



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