For some people this is their favorite time of the year. The lights, the snow, family, presents, and the excitement of the incoming year. For others, bah humbug! This time of year is the pits! I’ve put together 10 tips for staying more mindful and finding a little more joy this holiday season.
1. Stay Off That Phone
I moved to Dallas 3 years ago so coming home is heaven, for the most part. I talk to my family, but it’s obviously not as often that I’m in their presence. This year, I’m going to make more of an effort to stay off my phone and laptop *as I cringe at the thought of losing all of those productive waking hours* - I cringe more at the idea of my parent’s having one of those talks in their room about how “Mandie is always on that dang phone” or how it was “like I wasn’t even there.” OR Missing out on valuable time with my niece and actually experiencing her growing up… she’s so cute, check this out.
2. Let Stuff Go
We all have that family member(s) who tries us like a free sample… you know what? let them! Welcome it! Laugh about it, and then.. let it go. Don’t hold on to that anger or irritation this holiday season. The thing is, they won’t be here forever and I can guarantee you it’s not worth getting your undies in a bunch because they called you out for showing up single the 3rd year in a row or they snuck in the fridge and ate your leftovers. Family is everything. Let the petty stuff slide.
3. Think Outside The Box On Gifts
If you’re like me - eating broccoli, air, and water for dinner and calling it gourmet because bills and savings *jokes* - you might entertain the idea of thinking outside the box for gifts this time around. Last year, I played a game with my family for gifts. I bought a bunch of gag gifts and some gift cards and wrapped it in a saran wrap ball. Then, I played music and one person would unravel the ball until I stopped the music and they got to take whatever fell out. It was fun, we were all laughing, and everyone really enjoyed it. It was different, and it was easy on my pockets.
Side Note: Don’t complain about your financial situation and then turn around and buy a $200 gift. That’s not what this season should be about. Create an irrevocable memory with your family, it will take you a lot further than a new bag or an Apple Watch.
4. Take Pictures
Capture moments to laugh about now AND later. That same cousin that GPSd his way to your last nerve may have done something funny that you caught on video or in a picture.. When he tries you again, you can use that picture to remember that he’s not ALWAYS so bad. I look at pictures of my niece all the time when I need a little pick up. My little lion.
5. Shop Online & Amazon Prime
If your patience wears thin in stores, shop online. I’m a firm believer in Amazon Prime. I love sending people gift cards to Audible or shipping something through Amazon. Save yourself that hassle - no shame in saying your gift is on the way. Better be glad you got something! Shoot. ;-)
6. Give the gift of time
Wrap yourself in lights and lay under the tree. Remind your people that YOU.. are the gift. Lol. Spend TIME with your loved ones this holiday. Yes, get off the phone but also, talk. Like, ask them about their lives and what they’ve been up to. I think we forget that social media is a highlight reel. Some people may really be hurting but no one thinks to ask because their Facebook life is LIT! My family is good for sitting around having the Black in America talk - especially once Kwanzaa rolls around. We will literally sit and talk for hours. It’s beautiful.
Cheesy, but scientifically supported. If you find yourself getting stressed this holiday season, try some breathing techniques. My favorite for relaxation is breathing in for a count of 4 and breathing out for a count of 8. That will move you from that “fight or flight” anxious feeling into the “rest and digest” relaxed feeling. Try it until you feel some relaxation kick in.
8. Be Grateful
I think I say this in almost every other blog post - God won’t take you to the next level until you master this one. Be grateful now, your blessing is en route. If you find yourself struggling this holiday season, sit down and write out some reasons you’re grateful for everything now. Gratitude is a magnet for blessings.
9. Have Reasonable Expectations
I think the glitz and glam of the Holiday Season has a lot of us walking through the Holidays expecting perfection. White snow, gorgeously wrapped presents under a tree, and the most poised family photos where the baby chuckles at the camera. When the 25th shows up and all of that’s a lie, we start to look down on our lives because it’s not picture perfect. We start thinking about the what if’s and the why not’s - trying to find an explanation as to why we’re piecing together our holiday once again. Don’t do that. It is what it is. You’ve made it to another holiday season, and that alone is amazing. Keep in mind the true reason for the season.
It’s the end of the year and you’re still standing. Take some time to own that. You have made it through 100% of the adversity life has tried to throw at you. You’ve also probably touched some really great experiences as well. I received my Masters Degree, visited a new city while picking up another certification with my mom, expanded my practice and vision, started a whole resource site online, made some amazing friends, dived into my passion, and I was even in a web series!!! Have you seen it? Check this out. Ya girls a star. Thanks J Rhodes. LOL #TheseBeatsAintFree #SquadGoalsAchieved
Anyway, I hope this helps! Try your hardest to really BE with your loved ones this year. The next 2 minutes aren't guaranteed. Let go of any anger and embrace this season for the true reason. Happy Holidays and God Bless.
XO - Amanda