With Christmas on its way and approaching rapidly we thought it apt to close 2020 with some advice on how to stay healthy and make the most of the festive season. The holidays are an interesting time. It can be a time of joy, excitement, and anticipation. It can also be stressful. Holiday get-togethers can be loud and crowded.

Add to that, the fact that you will might be spending Christmas at your in-laws and there is the possibility that your cousin might have Covid-19, and the holidays just got even more stressful.

Holidays can also be expensive! The cost of gifts, travel, and extra food can really add up in a hurry. It is imperative that during this period you don’t lose your head and take on too much, remember, everything in moderation.

You cannot take care of eveybodies needs if you don’t take care of yours. Take breaks as and when they are needed. Sometimes, a little family can go a long way. Family get-togethers can be wonderful, but they can also wear you out in a hurry. There’s no shame in taking a break and going for a walk, enjoying a well deserved coffee break, or finding a quiet place in the house to recharge your batteries. 

You also don’t have to be at every celebration, choose quality over quantity. Avoid scheduling too much, be disciplined enough to decline invitations that don’t serve you and the family. Plan to see the people that are most important to you and skip the rest. Trying to do too much can create animosity and burnout.

It would however be a good idea to expect some chaos, too. The holidays bring chaos. Bad weather, lots of time in the kitchen, travel, more kids than usual, mess. Prior planning helps last minute outbursts and stress. A great attitude also plays a major role in your overall experience over this period. Make the choice to be as happy as possible. Decide to enjoy the holiday’s irrespective of circumstances. Choose to be optimistic. Expect good things to happen and you’ll be more likely to enjoy yourself.

Also expect that some things will not go as planned but decide to enjoy the holidays anyway. A little rain should not ruin an entire day. A burnt vegetable does not make the rest of the Christmas lunch a disaster. One more guest should not be an imposition but should just add to the fun. Chances are, things will turn out great if you just decide to think that way.

Be grateful. It’s easier to relax and enjoy yourself when you feel grateful. You worry less about the mishaps, inconveniences, and perceived slights when gratitude is in your heart. Remember, all the things you have to be grateful for!

Love your alone time. Get some sun. Read a book. Take time out to dream and plan. Call up old friends, enjoy a glass of wine. Watch your eating habits, have the ice cream, eat the cake but don’t go overboard. Avoid all the junk food and watch your portions. Too much bad food makes you feel sluggish and bloated. It is also not great in terms of the fact that eating a lot of junk food leads to a stressed body. Be kind to yourself and keep your food intake as healthy as possible.

Another great piece of advice is to stay within your budget. Don’t get deceived by the hype. Don’t overspend, don’t buy elaborate gifts that are soon forgotten and don’t overindulge in gifts for the kids. Don’t get caught up in the Comparison Trap, trying to compete with cousins, siblings, neighbors etc. Think rather in experiences, experiences that will create memories as opposed to material things that come and go.

If 2020 was tough, use this time to reflect on how different 2021 could be different if you make a few minor changes. Think on what it is you really want and make plans in to make that happen. Love the time out and use it wisely. Make it a goal, to exit this last year with some amazing memories. With careful planning and a little optimism, you can have a great holiday season that you’ll remember fondly for years to come. Think on what Covid has taught you and reflect on the lessons. Use them in your favour and make 2021 your best year yet!