How to Survive the Holidays

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A holiday as defined by Websters Dictionary is a day free from work that one may spend at leisure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event; a religious feast day, a holy day or; a vacation.

An alternative definition for holiday: a day full of chores with no time to sit down, too much food, irritating relatives, and overspending resulting in exhaustion; a frustrating and anxiety producing time due to changes in work and exercise habits and dietary concerns, following which the celebrants need a vacation to recover from the holidays.

What is it going to be for you this year? Sharing faith, meals and memories with those we love seems so attainable; the expectations of fellowship and love warm our hearts as we prepare to celebrate. A holiday is often depicted as a magical time where all memories are comforting and dreams do come true, but, for a large number of people the alternative definition of holiday is closer to reality. We all tend to have such high hopes for a holiday, but for many, holiday can mean a difficult or dreaded time.

What can a person do to incorporate leisure and have fun with family and friends? What can a person do to really celebrate a religious feast day or a holy day? What can a person do to have a real vacation that does not require its own recovery time?
Here are six things you can do that will guarantee a better holiday:

Lower Your Expectations
Expect a certain amount of stress and unforeseen events to pop up. Baking cookies with young children involved will take longer, be messier and the results may be odd looking cookies. So what! Try to find the humor in a situation and just relax into the experience.

Plan Ahead
Start planning and shopping long before the event. Spontaneity is fine if you are going for a walk or to dinner but not very effective for holiday planning. Combine trips to save time. Take stock of your expectations and make sure that they are realistic. Dont expect more of yourself than you can handle.

Make Time For Yourself
Find time to be alone. Read, meditate or take long soaking baths. Exercise as normal and get enough sleep. Time you take for yourself will help you recharge your batteries for the days ahead.

Stay On A Regular Schedule
Keep up your normal routine. You do not have to put your life on pause or rearrange your schedule because of an impending holiday. Learn to prioritize the invitations you accept and dont feel that you have to go to every event during the holiday.

Delegate
Get your spouse, your kids and your relatives involved in the holiday preparations. Maybe things wont be done the way you would do them or as you want them done, but you will be gaining time for yourself and giving others the satisfaction of contributing.

Remember The Reason For The Holiday
A holiday is not a celebration of how well you parent, cook, decorate or outspend the neighbors. Pass a giving spirit on to your children. As we grow up we do come to realize that it is truly better to give than to receive. Giving of your time, love and spirit are the greatest gifts of all. Consider shelving some of your immediate goals and take time to appreciate the holiday and all it means to your family.

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