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Savor the Season: Practical Tips for Slowing Down

By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach

The holiday season is upon us, and for many, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” For others, it’s the busiest time of year. From delicious, fancy dinners to spending quality time with loved ones, there’s nothing better than the togetherness this time of year brings. However, it all seems to pass by so quickly, and before we know it, we’re back to work and feeling just as burnt out as before. This year, let’s slow down the pace and make time to really savor the season.

Here are some practical tips for slowing down and enjoying the holidays this year:

Make Time for Yourself

We all know how busy the holidays can get, but don’t forget about yourself. Make sure you schedule some me-time as often as you need to rest, practice self-care, and do things you love. This is one of the few times a year that you get to take some time off from work or school, so don’t give all your time to others! Watch a holiday movie, bake some tasty treats, or finally sleep in. You’ll feel much more energized when you do have plans, and you’ll feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

Choose Who You Spend Time With

Although it’s nice that everyone wants to get together during the holidays, don’t feel pressured to say yes to every plan. Overbooking your calendar will only make you stressed, and the time spent with your loved ones will feel rushed and unenjoyable. Instead, choose who you want to spend your time with. Choose quality over quantity this year.

Don’t Overcomplicate Events

If you’ve ever hosted a holiday party or event, then you know how stressful and hectic planning everything can feel. Often, the stress of planning can take away from enjoying the party and having a good time. This holiday season, try not to overcomplicate things. You don’t need to serve full meals for each guest or decorate every inch of your home. Let go of some of your expectations and have more time for the things that matter— enjoying your gathering and the people around you. Hosting a gathering doesn’t mean you also have to take on ALL the prep work yourself either! Ask everyone to bring a dish to pass, or present a menu and ask people to sign up to provide one of the dishes!

Let Loose and Enjoy Yourself

The holidays are full of indulgences, from food to drinks to presents. While it’s good to have a routine and eat healthily, don’t be too strict on yourself. Allow yourself to enjoy the delicious food and good company around you. Life is about balance, and food is a wonderful way to celebrate this special time of year -- so enjoy it. Try to let go of any judgments you have towards yourself or fears that others are judging you. Have fun, dance, laugh, and make some lasting memories.

Put the Technology Away

This holiday season, practice being more in the moment. Our phones, work emails, and social media can consume so much of our days that we forget to enjoy what’s happening around us. Schedule time for a digital detox, whether it’s for an hour or so during family dinners or the entire weekend. Find ways to spend time with friends and family offline, such as playing board games, talking, or going for walks. Putting the phones away allows us to become more mindful, and spend more quality time with our loved ones.

Set Gift Giving Parameters

You don’t need to go broke giving loved ones all of their wishes and dreams under the Christmas tree. A couple of meaningful, sentimental gifts that your loved ones will truly enjoy will help everyone enjoy the holidays. Set parameters ahead of time so your family knows what to expect. My family will sometimes do a homemade gift exchange year, and honestly, it’s the best year when we do this. So many wonderful memories are made with the love that is poured into those gifts. We have also done exchanges of consumable items only, or items purchased by local merchants and crafters. With all of the craziness in the world lately, now more than ever is the best time to support local businesses.

Life is busy, so don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holidays overtake you. Simple is better – from meal planning to gift giving, and remember the notion of quality over quantity. Your time is valuable, and being fully present with your loved ones is the best gift you can give this holiday season!

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