Your Holiday Survival Guide, Part 5: The Big Day
When the big day arrives you'll have an opportunity to practice everything we've covered over the last 5 parts of this series, all at once. Christmas Day can be anything from joyous to regretful, and sometimes the stress overwhelms us.
Hence, the following game plan.
1. In the morning: Practice gratitude. Right away.
When you wake up on Christmas morning it might be easy to get swept away by the fun and excitement, but take a moment to get present to how grateful you are for whatever's come your way. Gratitude is one of the most surefire ways to relieve stress, and the holidays are a good time to practice it.
2. After presents: Take a walk/run/bike ride
Let's just face it: Christmas, like Thanksgiving, can easily become a day of gluttony and lethargy. Getting up and out for a walk, run, or ride before the feasting starts is a great way to remember that you do, in fact, have a body worth taking care of.
3. Before dinner: Help out in the kitchen
Part of not over-doing it at the dinner table is being connected to your food, and helping to prepare that food will definitely forge a connection.
4. Any time: Practice gratitude. Again.
When the morning gift-exchange has finished and the turkey's not quite ready, there's an excellent opportunity for all of the typical stressors to creep in: it's easy to reach for a drink, pick a fight with a family member, or turn on the TV and veg out. None of these are necessarily the wrong thing to do, but taking another moment to reflect on all you have to be grateful for may short-circuit other, less healthy tendencies.
5. At the dinner table: Eat and drink mindfully
Taste everything on your plate, one bite at a time. A lot of love no doubt went into your food's preparation, and taking mindful bites and chewing slowly will only enhance the pleasure of the experience. The same goes for drinking: sip everything slowly. Pay attention to the flavours and aromas. Indulge your senses, and let yourself truly feast.
6. After dinner: Find common family ground
Now comes a lull and the potential for strife, or mindless eating or drinking. Be it a board game or Christmas film, a shared activity will promote a feeling of connection, and maybe even some fun.
7. Before bed: Practice all kinds of gratitude
The day is done for another year. What can you be grateful for?
Merry Christmas, everyone!