It’s holiday time again! Yes, that’ right. The holiday season starts with Halloween and continues through New Year’s and even longer if you want to count Valentine’s Day in the mix. That’s at least two months of celebration! During this time there are countless holiday parties with all kinds of food, drinks, and desserts; days spent shopping and writing cards; hours spent cleaning, decorating, and baking all while you try to keep up with your everyday family and work life.Whew! No wonder so many of us feel extra stress come this time of year as well as a sense of dread and depression in some cases. On top of all the frenzy, this is a time that the average American gains 1 pound of weight. Now that may not sound like much but most people never lose that 1 pound. Over the years, the weight just keeps piling on. And the news is worse for people who are already overweight. For this group, average weight gain can be more than 5 pounds. Much of mid-life weight gain can in fact be blamed on the eating and living patterns that we adopt during this two month period.
All the stress and extra weight wreak havoc on our heart health, cholesterol levels and our sense of well-being. So to help you sail through the holidays this year while savoring them and staying on track with your priorities, I am going to show you how to easily create your stress-free holiday game plan. When your holidays are filled with activities you love versus activities that cause stress, your holidays will be more fun and less likely to cause you to overeat.A first step in coming up with a stress-free holiday game plan is not only to free up time in your soon-to-be-busy holiday schedule but to also think about what activities you want to try this year to make your holidays truly special. What kind of holiday do you want? Don’t just let yourself get wrapped up in tradition without taking a moment to determine if your holiday traditions are still nourishing you the way they used to.So here’s what you need to do…Make a list of everything you traditionally do during the holidays. To ensure you capture everything, break it down into the following categories:1. Family holiday traditions
2. Friend/work holiday traditions
3. Personal responsibilities/to-do’s
4. New things you want to try this yearPut a happy or sad face next to each item on your list to indicate if you like or dislike it. Don’t worry about how you think you should feel about each item on your list. Really be honest with yourself.Next, for any items that receive an unhappy face, decide if you want to delegate (give it to someone else), diminish (do it part way or less than perfect), delay (postpone until a later date) or delete (get rid of) that particular item.In some cases, it may be hard for you to put either a happy or sad face because there are both positive and negative aspects to the item you are rating. In this case, I would put a sad face next to the item so that you think about how you can make some kind of positive adjustment. For instance, I put an unhappy face next to decorating; however, I do like decorating as long as I have the time to do it and as long as there isn’t too much of it to do. This year, I plan to diminish the task by having just a lit, decorated wreath hanging in our dining room. I won’t be decorating a tree or putting up lights this year as I have done in the past.
Now it’s your turn. After completing your list, what small change do you plan to make so that your holidays are better and less stressful than before? If you do this exercise and then actually implement, you will have more time and will be doing fewer of the things you don’t enjoy doing this holiday season. That will equate to less stress and more fun!Happy planning!
If you want even more support to help you have a stress-free, fun-filled holiday season this year without gaining a single pound of weight, register for Sandra Hoedemaker’s upcoming interview with Melissa McCreery a psychologist who specializes in helping smart, busy, successful women thrive during the holidays by visiting forms.aweber .com/form/00/1009287900.htm.