Presence vs. Presents During the Holidays
During the holidays, it can be easy to get swept up in a whirlwind of endless gifting and presents. You want your loved ones to have the most magical holiday ever, filled with endless surprises and joy. But, wait! You can make magic without destroying your holiday budget. Before you waste 3+ hours driving to every store nearby to find the hot ticket toy that is completely sold out, step back and find other ways you can spread cheer this season! Gifts are great, but sometimes it is more about the presence vs. the presents!
- Create DIY gifts together with loved ones; such as baked goods, holiday décor, soaps and scrubs, and more. You’ll be sharing a memory together and saving $$$ too!
- Gift experiences rather than things. The interactive stuffed animal will probably be used a handful of times before getting lost and forgotten among other toys that don’t get played with. Gifting a trip to the zoo, waterpark, play, or museum can bring memories and smiles that can last a lifetime. Here are some creative experiences for the adventurer in your life. Free experiences can be just as great too! Trips to the park, hiking, fishing, sledding, etc are great ways to spend time, not money.
- Your family is picture perfect ready in their very best holiday attire, so of course you want to capture every stinking moment. But relax, take a few pictures of the event and then put the phone down! I promise no one needs to see the 986 live action recapping your whole holiday! It is important to savor the moments, rather the being wrapped up in documenting every little detail.
- Sometimes turning the calendar over to December can be daunting. Blink and all of the days are quickly filled up with holiday parties, Santa visits, school singing programs, cookie exchanges, and more! Just remember, it is okay to say no! Prioritize the events that bring you energy and happiness and feel free to pass on the events that leave you feeling mentally exhausted. It is better to be present at the events you do go to rather than cramming in every single holiday event you can think of!
- If you are looking for fun ways to celebrate the season, here are some free ways to make memories with loved ones. Donate your talents and time for a great holiday cause such as a local soup kitchen, go caroling at a nursing home or around your neighborhood, attend a local holiday parade or take in a children’s program even if your kids are all grown up. If you are religious, you can attend holiday services and events. Find local light up drive through events or grab some hot cocoa/snacks and take a drive around town looking at the different holiday light displays. Read holiday themed books or watch holiday movies together. For more Holiday Bucket List ideas, click here!
- It is okay to ask for help! You want the best holiday light display but you have a fear of heights. You love getting gifts for others, but dread wrapping presents. You love serving sweets, but can’t bake cookies without burning your house down. It is 1000% okay to outsource the task and ask for help! Divide and conquer the holiday so you can be present and savor the season.
- You might find yourself stressing about what to get the people in your life who have literally everything! Consider donating to a charity on their behalf. What better gift than to pay it forward to someone who could really use the money.
Remember, gifts are wonderful, but it is the thought that counts! The real gift is sharing memories and time together. You can still have the best holiday ever without going overboard on presents!
Overcoming Post-Holiday/Winter Blues
Bah-Humbug! During the holidays, it can be easy to find joy and happiness. You are constantly surrounded by family and friends, delectable foods, beautiful holiday displays, gifts, and more. Then the holidays end and poof – you are left with cold, winter weather and long, dark days. Taking care of your mental health in the winter can be especially important. Here are some simple ways you can help beat the blues and find joy during the post-holiday/wintertime.
- During the holidays, one tends to throw all routine/schedule out the window. You might be staying up later, indulging in copious amounts of food, and not taking care of yourself. Sticking to your normal routine can help soften the crash in the post-holiday aftermath.
- Nothing makes you feel more excited then when you are looking forward to something amazing. Plan a winter getaway. It could be somewhere warm and tropical, or even a staycation to somewhere local. A change in scenery is always a good way to get out of a rut.
- Take in nature. Go for a walk, tubing, snow shoeing, skiing, and more.
- Call a friend or family member just to chat. Not text, not email, not messenger, not social media à actually physically calling and speaking to another voice can sometimes give you all the inner peace you need when feeling blue.
- Find what music speaks to your soul and crank it up! Music can help get you out of a funk and get you moving too!
- Just get out of the house. Sometimes just getting out around people can build up your energy and brighten your day.
- Start a spring time countdown calendar. You will feel the weight lifting off your shoulders each time you check a day off.
- Make a list of things you want to get done. Be sure to include small tasks and check those off too! Feeling accomplished will help motivate you to tackle the larger projects. And if you are getting stuff done around the house, that is a double win!
- Get active. Working out releases happy endorphins that can make you feel better and gain more energy.
- Turn off the screens. Staying indoors can often lead to endless social media scrolling, news, movie marathons, etc. After awhile, that can take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing. Put the electronics away and let your brain have a screen break!
- Find a new project to focus on. Things tend to slow down during the winter months. Now is a great time to finally fix the leaky faucet, clean out your cluttered basement, reorganize your closets, or add some fresh paint to the walls.
- Find a new hobby. You could start cooking, learn a new language, task yourself with completing a 5000 piece puzzle, or join a new adult sport group.
- Being in the sunlight can help improve one’s emotional state. Try to find space in your home where the sun comes in and soak up those rays everyday.
- It is okay to not be okay. If you feel like you just cannot shake the winter blues, seek help from family and friends or consider professional aid. Here is a great resource to determine if you have a mild case of the winter blues or if it could be something more serious.