Did you know that December is National Stress-free Family Holiday Month?
Stress can be harmful for our mental and physical health so with the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s a good time of year to remember to stress-less.
To help YOU STRESS-LESS this season, here’s a simple idea to increase your joy this Christmas: Choose to SAVOR MORE! Research shows that people who take time to mindfully savor life experience less stress.
With all the work that goes into making the holidays special, intentionally savoring will help you enjoy it. Savoring is about using all of your senses and emotions to deeply and mindfully enjoy the experience.
Savoring is the feeling you get when you put chocolate on your tongue, close your eyes and say, “Mmmmmmm!”
It’s about letting your heart take a picture and freezing those special moments in time so that they become memories that will last forever. Not only is savoring a lot more fun than stressing, studies show that savoring is good for us!
Children are especially good at Savoring. The other night we had one of our sons and his wife and baby over to help us decorate our Christmas tree. Music was playing in the background and we were all chattering about where to place our ornaments. Suddenly, we took notice of our 7-month-old granddaughter was cooing as she gazed around the room in awe. She was enjoying the lights and the sounds of her very first Christmas. She was savoring! The look of sheer delight on her face caused us to want to stop savor the moment even more.
So, if you want to stress-less this holiday here are 7 simple ways to SAVOR more!
1. Simplify! Constant hustling and bustling robs you of time to savor. Don’t try to be everything to everybody and don’t try to make it to every single holiday event. Slim down your shopping list (that will save the stress of too much shopping now and too much debt in piled up in January).
If decorating seems overwhelming, consider putting up less decorations. At the end of the season you’re gonna thank yourself because you’ll have less decorations to put away.
2. Let go of perfectionism. This will greatly decrease your stress and help you enjoy the special moments more. Besides, there’s really no such thing as “perfect holiday.” Do your best to make it nice but don’t exhaust yourself to the point where you can’t truly enjoy the season.
3. Share the load and savor the blessings. If you find that you’re the one who does most of the planning, cooking, and shopping to make it nice for everyone else, that can be stressful and can sometimes bring frustration. Invite others to help. Then you can savor the fun of planning and preparing together and relaxing together.
4. Give meaningful service. Research shows that people who do acts of kindness for others find their own joy magnified. Christmas doesn’t have to be about indulging ourselves, there’s actually greater levels of happiness to enjoy when we focus on the needs of others – especially those who may be less fortunate, lonely, or struggling with health or financial challenges.
5. Savor with family and friends. Studies show that the greatest predictor of happiness is found in our connections to others. If we’re so busy decorating, planning, buying, baking, and wrapping that we don’t take time to connect with family, then it’s time to slow things down and prioritize people over tasks.
If there are tasks that have to be done, do them with someone. Bake with your kids or have a family wrapping party (We used to give each of the kids a pile of presents to wrap and turn on a movie – it was bonding time).
6. Make time to truly relax and simply savor the season. Read or watch meaningful stories or movies. Play music, dance, sing songs. Do whatever gives you that cozy Christmas feeling you long for. If you want to savor your Christmas experiences in the future, you may want to record them in a journal.
7. Finally, Gratitude and Awe are 2 great ways to savor more and stress less. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas and express gratitude for the hope and happiness it brings. Notice and give thanks to and for family, friends and loved ones who give your life meaning and purpose. Try to experience the season with new eyes (pretend like it’s your very first and choose to savor).
We hope this helps you take time to stress less & savor more this holiday season. Merry Christmas.