December is a month filled with best intentions. Most of us start the holiday stretch filled with bright hope and song, longing to spend time together with family and friends and sprinkle good cheer throughout the land. But longer lines at the local grocery store, endless gifts to buy, and fewer hours of daylight take their toll, and so many of us finish the season desperately longing for a beach-side vacation to recharge our batteries for the coming year.

But it doesn’t have to be so. Change is happening all around us, and we have to remember it is a natural part of life. Even the most hallowed of traditions get switched up every now and then, so why not create change in your own family to prevent the burnout from years past? The best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is to re-evaluate which traditions are really important to your family and discard the obligations that cause you stress. Setting these priorities now will propel you forward at the start of 2012, giving you the inspiration you need to make positive life changes throughout the year.

Overflowing Schedules

Your time is precious!Your time is precious, and it’s important to protect it. Start by keeping a close watch on your schedule. A simple gut-check: If you are considering committing to or attending something you won’t remember missing in a month, it’s probably not worth your time. You don’t really need to attend every party you are invited to; in fact, the fewer you go to, the more you will appreciate the ones you do end up attending. To make sure you carve out time for yourself this month, set aside one evening each week to rest; don’t fill it with endless to-do lists, but gather your family together to play a game, make a meal together, or work on a seasonal craft.

Simplifying

This season, let simplicity be your mantra. The theme can affect numerous aspects of your typical holiday traditions, so start small and identify one or two areas that typically cause you stress, and then spend some time thinking through a handful of possible solutions. If gift giving is bogging you down financially, set a price limit or guidelines for types of gifts; for instance, handmade gifts or those costing less than $20.
Entertaining in your own home can be simplified, too. For large gatherings, by all means enlist some help, either by asking your guests to bring an item or two or by relying on your local bakery or deli to prepare some of the items for you.

Healthful Balance

Don’t let your health fall by the wayside this season, only to rely on your January resolutions to get back into shape. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Keep a healthful balancerings true here, so set a few goals for the month to get you through. Place a limit on sugar intake—say, one sweet treat per day—to keep you from sampling every seasonal goodie that crosses your path. Make it a point to get a bit of exercise every day, even if it means getting outside in inclement weather. Above all, be sure not to deprive yourself; splurge on the things that really matter while forgoing the rest.

Holiday Correspondence

Advances in technology mean sending out holiday cards isn’t as cumbersome as it once was. Although you wouldn’t necessarily want to share your glad tidings via tweets, you can get savvy with your computer and create holiday greetings (think videos, e-cards, and photo albums) that can be sent electronically, cutting down on postage costs and time spent addressing envelopes. Your recipients will be reminded that you are thinking of them, and they may even be inspired to take a few more steps toward tech-savviness themselves.

Honest Expectations

Remember, the winter season is about being together with those people who mean the most to you. Unmet expectations can often override the great things that are happening if we aren’t careful to keep a healthy perspective on things. It helps to set a few priorities for the season that will provide a framework for how you celebrate. Then, make the most of the season without letting the minor details get to you so that come January, you are eager to take on another year of life, equipped with the energy to celebrate the small and large. Written from staff reports.

Categories: Home, Health & Spirit

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