Making the Most of the Holiday Season
by Helen Hunter, ACSW, LSW
It’s the holidays – “the most wonderful time of the year!” While this season is a time for us to celebrate life and our many blessings, stress can exist. I am a firm believer in living each day to the fullest and making each moment count, but how can we make the most of each day, particularly during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Here are some tips that have worked for me.
Create new traditions that make the most of your energy. Ask for and allow others to help. Let others make meals, or share in a potluck meal with other families. Let others bake, or purchase store-baked goods, which will still be enjoyed by all. Let others decorate or wrap gifts – you can be the supervisor. Keep it simple. You decide how much you are able to participate actively in holiday activities, and it’s OK to allow others to help you in the preparations. Sharing the experience with others will be fun for everyone involved. By letting others share in holiday preparation, you allow yourself to save your physical and emotional energy so you can focus on what is truly important – enjoying time with your loved ones.
It’s “the most wonderful time of the year” – and also one of the most stressful.
Live in the Moment
Realize your limitations, and learn to feel comfortable with doing less. Don’t feel obligated to live up to others’ expectations – do what is best for you. You are in charge, and when you honestly embrace yourself and your loved ones, you will be able to handle whatever obstacles arise. The power of positive thinking is incredibly important to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, so put your best attitude forward. Try it, and you will see what I mean. When we live in the moment, we can make the most of being with loved ones, and we can cherish every experience.
Share with Others
Volunteering can be rewarding during the holiday season, as well as throughout the rest of the year. And you can schedule to do as much or as little as you are able. You set the pace. Each of us has unique gifts and talents to share, which will enrich our lives and the lives of others. Whether we wish to serve meals at a soup kitchen, help others learn to read, adopt a needy family, visit home-bound elders or residents at an assisted living facility, or volunteer in a day care center, the important thing is to reach out to others in need. It can be as simple as inviting someone who lives alone to come enjoy a meal and other festivities. By sharing with others, everyone will be uplifted by the time spent together.
Keep in mind that it’s not the money spent or the food baked that is important. The time that you spend together is what makes a memorable celebration. Make the holiday season (and every day) a time for you and your loved ones to have fun and share special memories. Spend time together, sharing meals, talking, and enjoying each other’s company. Count your blessings, and remind yourself to make each day count (not just during the holiday season, but every season).
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Helen Hunter is an independent geriatric social worker consultant, trainer, and spiritual director. She is also a published author, focusing on elder care and family care issues. Licensed in the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and Florida, she currently lives in Middlesex, NJ.
This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, November/December 2010.