(RxWiki News) If Santa can stay calm while delivering gifts to the entire world in a single night, you can stay calm during the holidays, too.
And doing so can benefit your health and help you have a more enjoyable holiday. Here are some tips for finding calm during the chaos of the holidays.
Set Realistic Goals
Everyone wants a grand holiday, but huge holiday meals and parties are not always realistic. If you don't have time to make the picture-perfect holiday happen, be realistic about that when you think about your goals for the holiday.
Think about what you can reasonably do — maybe host a single dinner for the extended family instead of a weeklong family visit — and set that goal.
Meditation has been around for ages, and now, the health community has research to back up what many people have long known: Meditation can reduce your stress, or at least make it more manageable.
Time can feel scarce during the holidays, but if you can find even a 10-minute break to sit somewhere quiet and meditate, you very likely will feel the positive effects. If you're having trouble getting started or staying focused, there are dozens of free meditation apps you can try on your smartphone.
Go for Simplicity, Not Perfection
The simple things in life are often the sweetest, and that applies to holidays. You may have in your mind the picture of the "perfect" holiday celebration, but do yourself a favor by scrapping that image and focusing on the essentials.
In all likelihood, the most essential element of your holiday celebration will be time spent with family. If that's your top goal, think of the simplest way to make that happen — not the perfect way.
Focus on Your Family, Not Other Families
With social media constantly bombarding us, it can be hard to avoid comparing your holiday season to that of your friends or neighbors. Instead of seeing what others are doing to celebrate and comparing that to your holiday celebration, ask yourself a simple question: "Is my family having a good time?" If the answer is yes, there's no need to go above and beyond what you're already doing to keep up with what other families say they are doing.
Sometimes, amid all the chaos of the family visits, gift-giving and cooking, the holidays can bring us to a breaking point. Before you hit that point, take a moment to breathe.
Controlled breathing — usually done by inhaling deeply and slowly through the nose and exhaling out of the mouth — can enable you to step back from the stress for a moment and gain some perspective on what really matters.
Write It Down
Writing is therapeutic, and you don't have to be a great writer to get the benefits. Before the holiday chaos ramps up, give yourself the gift of a simple journal and pen. Each day, or whenever you like, sit down and write down what you're feeling. If you are angry with someone, write that. If you're sad, write that, too.
Getting it all on paper gives what you are feeling a physical form that you can look at and calmly assess.
Don't let the holidays get in the way of your exercise routine. If you take a daily walk every other time of year, find the time to continue that daily walk during the holidays. If you don't have an established exercise regimen, consider going out for a quick walk when you feel that your stress is about to boil over.
Exercise can bring a sense of calm, and it has the added benefit of burning off some of those holiday cookie calories. However, you should always speak to your health care provider before starting any new kind of exercise routine.