Positively Positive shared the article Three Steps To A Low Stress, High-Joy Holiday Season. The article outlines a 3-part plan so you can actually enjoy the holidays and find the experience to be memorable and stress-free.
The first step is all about reconnecting. I love this quote from the author,
“Let me not mince words here: This sense that we are connected and part of a larger whole is the single strongest predictor of happiness that we have.”
It is my opinion this is especially true when it comes to celebrations. If our goal is to reconnect to those we love, respect and whose company we enjoy, the chances we will be pleased with our holiday experience and gain happy memories from celebration activities grows exponentially.
The second step is to schedule your holiday events and tasks, plus pencil in some downtime to rest and renew yourself. Staying up until 3 am, year after year, to wrap gifts is no fun. And while this step probably should have been started a month ago, it can still be a good exercise for the next week or two. Make a list of the events and tasks you need to do, and want to do. What’s most important? Holiday cards not started— can you send out New Year’s cards instead? Or how about starting a new tradition and sending out Valentine’s Day cards (author Gretchen Rubin’s family tradition discussed in her book The Happiness Project). Using step one’s principle of reconnection is a great way to prioritize the activities on your list.
Step three is all about gratitude. By trading in expectations for appreciation, we experience more joy. This helps reduce, or even eliminate, the post-holiday blues. Pick one thing, right now, that you love and appreciate. Here’s a little dose of appreciation from me: I really appreciate the gift of holiday music in the music styles I like that a Pandora Christmas music station provides. I don’t have to listen to Santa Baby sung by 4 different artists if I don’t want to. I can enjoy listening to White Christmas by The Eddie Higgins Trio instead, which ups my joy quotient in an instant. What is one thing you appreciate right now? I’d love to read your appreciations. Please share in the comment section below.
If you would like to schedule an activity to reconnect with family and friends, or start a new holiday tradition, in the Seattle area, below is a list of a few local activities that last the whole holiday season.
- Ivar’s Clam Lights @ Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park | Free, Stunning Visual Display, Decorated Walking Path December 5, 2014-January 1, 2015 from 5-9 p.m. | Free | All Ages
- Christmas Zoolights 2014 @ Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium November 28, 2014 – January 4, 2015 from 5-9 p.m. | $9 at the Gate | All Ages
- 2014 Garden d’Lights Free Nights @ Bellevue Botanical Garden Info,November 29, 2014 through January 3, 2015 from 4:30pm to 9:30pm Every Evening Including Holidays (last entry at 9:00pm). Tickets are $5 per person; children 10 and under are free and do not need a ticket.
- Seattle Winterfest at Seattle Center , November 28 – December 31, 2014. If you’d like to skate at the Winterfest Ice Rink, cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 – 12, $2 children ages 5 and under, includes skate rental. Cash only.
- Franscican Polar Plaza With The Tacoma Art Museum, enjoy ice skating on Tollefson Plaza located at 17th and Pacific. Admission $4-8 depending on age; skate rental is $2. Runs Nov. 21, 2014 to Jan. 11, 2015.
- WildLights At Woodlawn Park Zoo, November 28 – January 4, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. nightly. Adults (13+) $9.75; Children (3-12) $6.50; Toddlers (0-2) FREE
Cheers to making happy holiday memories while leaving stress in the dust!