Ah, the holidays. The gifts, the food, the fellowship … and the STRESS! Most of us are working harder in our jobs than ever before and can’t wait until we get a few days off to relax, recharge and enjoy time with family and friends.
Unfortunately, that time off frequently becomes a blur as we try to pack so many activities into just a few days. I am hearing more and more people even comment that they are glad when the holiday break is over-and they can get some rest! If the hectic pace of your holiday is something you are not looking forward to, here are six tips to insure that your holiday break is truly a “gift” to you and others:
1) Set specific goals for the holidays. We think in vague terms like “spend more time with family” or “get more rest.” Be specific about what the activities you want to see happen. If you want to get more sleep, set some goals for the time you will go to bed and the time you will get up.
2) Prioritize friends AND activities with friends. More than any other time of the year, people say, “Let’s get together over the holidays.” You nod in weak agreement, but don’t have a clue how you’re going to fit everyone on your calendar. Plan (with spouse or partner) those people who you most want to spend time with over the holidays and schedule them-NOW! Also look at different activities than an evening meal, which can take up lots of time. Plan a trip to a local park to walk (if weather permits) or a coffee house where you can spend more time conversing and less time preparing.
3) Schedule MORE intensely than normal. Many people make the mistake of “going with the flow” during the holidays and miss the opportunity to do the things of greatest importance to them. Regardless of how small the activity or project, plan the day and even the general time you plan to get it done. Your time off is too valuable to be spent unwisely.
4) Plan something for yourself EVERY DAY. Beyond time with family and friends, what you have been craving is time alone, doing something you rarely get to do during the year. Look at your daily schedule and plan those activities. Buy any supplies or materials needed. That way, when you find a place in your schedule you are ready to make it happen.
5) Do things for others. Nothing gives us a healthier perspective than to do something for someone else. In our mobile society, many elderly will not see their children or grandchildren until until later this month. Single parents and widows would also be thrilled to know those in the community care about them. Too often we think that charities and assistance organizations find everyone who is in need, and that is, sadly, not the case.
6) Be present. I have had a few holidays where I let trivial issues at work or personal quirks take me out of the moment-and I missed making some really special memories. Embrace the joy found in good conversation, laughter and a heightened sense of goodwill toward others. You’re going to need those fond memories as fuel to get you through the winter months!
Go ahead … click the Eagle.
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