It is true that the holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it may lose some of its luster when you are the one providing many of the wonders. You may already feel the weight of holiday obligations pressing down you—the décor, the Christmas cards, the traffic snarls, the long lines at stores, the pressure to pick the perfect gift. You may find yourself running from one holiday party or child’s Christmas concert to the next, feeling spent at the end of each day. And when you’re not out battling crowds, you may feel stretched thin at home as you plan to host your own holiday get-togethers or continue family traditions.
When you feel the pressures and fatigue of the holiday season overwhelming you, there is one simple thing that you can do – walk. We don’t mean walk away from your obligations, but simply excuse yourself from them temporarily, bundle up, and take a brisk walk. The physical activity and cool outside air can help clear your head, enabling you to tackle your challenges once again with an improved perspective. Exercise leads to an endorphin release, and those endorphins can come to your rescue, giving you energy and a renewed vigor for life. You don’t need to walk a marathon to make a difference—just a short 15 or 30-minute stint can do wonders for your frame of mind.
Though you may argue that you don’t have time to sleep, do all you can to protect your resting hours. Everything looks better after a good night’s sleep. You’ll think more clearly, focus with greater precision, and prioritize with greater efficiency. There often comes a point at night where you weigh whether to forge ahead with your pile of tasks or defer them until morning. When the choice comes, opt to turn out the lights, go to sleep, and attack your tasks in the morning. We often think things are more urgent than they really are. Most obligations can be deferred a bit to preserve our health and well-being. Your to-do list will still be there tomorrow, and you’ll be better equipped to deal with it.
Build in Downtime
Life can get pretty bleak if all you have to look forward to is one more obligation. Plan in a few minutes of down time each evening. Do a crossword puzzle, gather around the fire with your loved ones to talk about the high and low points of your day, or sip some hot soup while watching your favorite television show. Make it something that you’ll enjoy. A brief escape from the holiday hubbub can help refuel you for the rigors of the coming day.
It’s good to focus on others during the holidays, but don’t neglect yourself in the process. Give yourself the best holiday gift of all by doing what is necessary to stay healthy and happy—even during a busy time of year.