How to Stay Sane (Relatively Speaking) While Enjoying the Holidays

"No man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions." -- Henry Ward Beecher

Tis the season to be jolly.

Tis also the season for mall, parking lot or road rage.

In this day and age, we are busier than we have ever been before. Most of us are juggling full-time jobs, spouses, friends, children, and other social commitments. Throw a little "Deck the Halls" in there and it's enough to make your brain do a little more than "Fa la la la laaaaaaa", know what I'm sayin'?

So, I figured I'd take a moment to indulge in a little rambling and share some "tips" (for lack of a better word) to help you enjoy this time of year. Of course, these are not listed in order of importance. I just type 'em as they come to mind.

1) Don't worry about your diet. Yeah, you heard me. Stop caring for just a few weeks. Pay attention to your body. If you're hungry, and you want that cookie or hors d'oeuvre, then have it. Hell, have two. Tell yourself you can eat as much of it as you want because it's just food. That's all it is. Just food. Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you're full. However, if you reaching for that delectable item because you're bored, depressed or lonely, that's another story. If that's the case, recognize that and find another way to nurture yourself: call a friend, hug your significant other, meditate or do yoga. All the food in the world won't fix that and you know it. 2) Do something nice for yourself EVERY SINGLE DAY this holiday season. It could be something small, like buying yourself flowers, getting a pedicure or watching a marathon of your favorite TV show on a Saturday afternoon. Often times, people go on holiday overload because they're not tending to themselves. They're expending so much energy trying to please the world at large by buying the best (and sometimes, most expensive) gifts for their loved ones. No wonder you are on fumes (and giving that 85 year old lady in the Crown Vic who stole your parking space the finger). So, when you wake up tomorrow, begin the daily tradition of giving yourself a gift. Think of it as your own personal advent calendar. 3) Exercise because it's fun, not because you want to strap a feedbag on to your face. As you know, I like to run. I also like to lift weights. I just like to work out, period. However, I do it because it makes me feel good, not because I'm trying to make up for what I just sucked down at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet down the street. If you engage in physical activity for the good it brings you, instead of doing it as a punishment for overindulging, it'll be much more effective and pleasurable. Now, this may seem like it contradicts with my first "tip". It doesn't. Go back and read it again. Get it? Good. 4) Be kind. Refer to the second tip I listed and this will be much easier to do. It would be nice if we all remembered that life is too short and it's pointless to sweat the small stuff. But, we're human. And we sometimes forget what's really important. Resist the urge to fall prey to the stressful hustle and bustle of this time of year. Remember what the whole point of the season is. Regardless of what your religious inclination may or may not be, the spirit of giving is nondenominational. Whenever you sense some anxiety coming on, stop for a moment and just breathe. Count to ten. Heck, count to fifty if you have to. It. Will. Pass. 5) Let go of expectations. Nothing has to be perfect. Besides, what IS perfect, anyway??? It's a relative term, don't you think? What may be perfect for you, is probably not good enough for someone else anyway. So what? It's not about what other people think. Let them have their ideas and opinions and you can have yours. You don't have to agree, nor do you have to prove yourself to anyone; family, friend or otherwise. You might get a little grief from the peanut gallery. Let it go. Turn the other cheek and love them anyway. Don't engage in a pissing contest (pardon my French). You'll just make yourself miserable. 6) Have fun. This is probably the most important one and it applies to all the other tips I mentioned. Just enjoy yourself. Enjoy the chaos and craziness that is the holiday season. Take a deep breath, exhale and go have the time of your life already! Make everything you do from now until the New Year an adventure of sorts. This is your chance to create some pretty special memories. Don't squander this opportunity. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. But we have RIGHT NOW. Make it matter. Make it AMAZING. In closing, I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays. I celebrate Christmas (even though my mom's Jewish and my dad's Protestant...but that's a story for another day), so I'll leave you with this quote: "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." -- Roy L. Smith

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