Keeping Your Zen 'til the End (of the Year) by David Pollock, Global Safe Beauty Expert
If you spend any amount of time listening to the news or reading articles online (which I can tell you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this) then you have probably heard that the holiday season is one of the peak times of the year for break-ups, depression and even suicide. Stress affects each of us differently but there is no denying that as an adult, the holidays are not the relaxed winter-wonderland they were in childhood. Here are a few tips to help make sure that you don’t just “survive” the holiday stress, but hopefully prosper and thrive!
1. ‘Tis the Season for Forgiveness – start with yourself! This one may sound simple, but for many of you it will be the most difficult thing to remember. None of us are perfect regardless of how hard we try. Don’t hold yourself to such impossible standards! Some of us will just need to forgive ourselves for the party decorations or menu not coming out exactly as planned. Some of us will need to forgive ourselves for hurting people we love. Either way, one of the first steps in the process is to take a few moments to relax alone and think things over for a while. Try sitting in silence in a nice warm bubble bath – or maybe some aromatherapy oils or candles will help. Some of you may benefit from speaking aloud to yourself. Tell yourself what you’re not OK with, tell yourself how it made you feel, and then forgive yourself for it! Now you can move on with a clean slate and tackle the rest of the season feeling light and graceful and maybe a bit of the bah-humbugs will have been washed away.
2. Money Makes the World Go Round – wait, no it doesn’t! I’m pretty sure that has something to do with the gravitational pull of the sun; I don’t know the details of it – I’m a chemist, not an astrophysicist – but I’m positive that it isn’t money that does it. Gifts don’t need to be elaborate or expensive to be wonderful. The greatest gifts don’t come from the wallet, they come from the heart. Think about the person you are going to be giving this gift to and make it a gift that speaks to their personality or their place in life right now. Is that person stressed? Maybe you don’t need to buy them that $150 blouse. Some homemade bath salts with their favorite scent (try this recipe: http://www.justaskdavid.com/gift-of-relaxation-bath-salts) will let them know you appreciate them enough to make something that is just for them. Another wonderful gift is the gift of service. One of the best things you can do to ease the holiday stress of a friend is to come over with a favorite home-cooked meal, clean things up a bit and maybe even fold the laundry! This only works for close friends, though, as others might take offense. Feel free to come handle some of my housework any time you’d like. Really. I won’t be offended.
3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – and be honest, toys are small stuff. When it comes to gift-giving for kids, don’t feel like a failure if you can’t (or just don’t want to) get the latest hottest trend. Do you remember the great Cabbage Patch wars of the 80’s? People were literally trampling and violently fighting one another for cabbage patch dolls. Then there was the Tickle-Me-Elmo fiasco. Beenie babies, anyone? It seems to happen every few years; a new toy craze sweeps the market and parents turn themselves inside out and upside down trying to get one for their children. And children, being children, lose interest in those toys pretty quickly. Relax! If you can’t find it, skip it! Maybe you will be able to get one after the end of December. Gifts for no reason are more fun for the little ones, and if your kids are anything like mine – the toy will probably end up at the bottom of the toy chest in favor of something else you picked up as an afterthought that will become their best friend for years to come. Or the box. A big box is always the right answer.
4. K.I.S.S. – Keep it Simple, Silly! Are you hosting holiday parties or dinners this year? Don’t feel compelled to make things overly complicated. Seating charts are probably not necessary. Custom decorations can be beautiful, sure, but they’re also much harder than they look and can be frustrating for those of us who are less-than-artsy. It’s OK not to have everything coordinated and perfect. None of us are Martha Stewart, not even Martha Stewart! She has teams of assistants helping her with everything. Unless you have a whole troop backing you up, relax and grab some store-bought decorations or stick to the simpler home crafts. Domestic diva or domestic dunce, it’s fine! You’re great the way you are! A stressed host is normally not the most pleasant, and your guests may comment on décor once or twice through the evening – but what makes a great party is the people, not the paper mache. Keep it simple and keep it stress-free. Just laugh and have fun and your guests will be guaranteed to have a good time.
5. Play the Day Away – your inner child is bored to death! This one is simple. Just play! Be silly! Take pictures to remember it by - who cares if the pictures might make you look a bit crazy? The best stress-reliever you can ask for is a good laugh. Go ahead and find your joy, act like a kid for a while. Bake cookies, play outside, find a bouncy castle! Wear a horrible holiday sweater and go to the mall to take pictures with Santa. Being serious is just so … serious.
Stress gets to all of us, but it doesn’t have to break you down. Give these tips a try and visit my website www.JustAskDavid.com for more tips on stress management, healthy recipes, recipes for home made beauty products or just to ask me a question!