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How to have the happiest Happy Holiday season

As the end of the year fast approaches, most people start to think about holiday celebrations. Sometimes these celebrations are tied to religious occasions and at other times it is simply about an opportunity to catch up with loved ones and mark the end of the year.

While the songs on the radio tell us that it is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, for many people that is simply not true.

If you want to avoid holiday stress and have a happy holiday season, but often find yourself overwhelmed at this time of year, here are some strategies to help you have a happier holiday season.

Step 1

Make a list of the things that symbolize celebration for you. Do you love buying gifts for friends and family? Do you enjoy cooking/baking and hosting social gatherings? Do you love listening to holiday music or wearing ugly holiday sweaters? Is it important for you to have alone time to recharge? Do you benefit from being able to exercise before a big holiday meal?

The key is to identify things that you enjoy doing and not simply what you feel obliged to do.

Step 2

After making your list, identify 1 big thing and 3 smaller items that are essential for you.

Bonus: The remaining items can be completed at different points in the year to spread out the celebration.

Step 3

In your list of essential items, what are things that other people can help you with? Getting other people to help you is not only a great way to reduce your stress, but also an opportunity to bond with people who may have shared interests.

Maybe you want to host a holiday party but don’t feel confident in your culinary abilities? Try a potluck!

Step 4

Don’t strive for perfection. Just aim to get it done!

Not every invited guest can make it to your gathering? Go ahead anyway. Enjoy the company of those who do attend. A smaller gathering has its own perks.

The joy (and dopamine hit) comes from engaging in the action, not from how well executed it is.

Step 5

Have fun! Check in with yourself whether you are actually enjoying yourself. If not, allow yourself to stop and pick another item on the list. Saying no, is a boundary that protects your mental health.

Remember, the holiday season should be about celebration and not obligation.

Wishing you a happy & healthy holiday season!!

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