Last December I asked several friends and colleagues to contribute their thoughts for an article I was writing on how to feel less stressed and more joyful during the holidays. I got such a great response to their ideas, that I decided to publish them again this year. Here's what they told me:
• Carolyn Hartfield (CEO - Lifestyle Management LLC - LifestyleMgtLLC.com) - Declare that this will be your best holiday ever and proceed accordingly by expecting the best and avoiding any inkling of negativity, i.e., cynical people and gloomy thoughts. Make a personal commitment to only engage in positive thinking, interactions, and activities and see how much better you will feel.
• Cleopatra Bell (Speaker & Author) - I keep myself feeling good by truly enjoying the holiday parties I attend. I meet interesting new people and stay in touch with them after the festivities. I also find seeing Christmas lights puts me in the holiday spirit. So I don't just pass by them; I actually stop and spend time looking at the beautiful designs. Another thing I do is go to the stores the day after Christmas to buy gifts I will give during the coming year. Designer fragrances are usually at least 50% off, so I stock up on them. I also buy large scented candles (those without the holiday designs) at a fraction of their usual price. These items are great gifts for birthdays, housewarmings, and other occasions.
• Donna Lang (Business Coach & Seminar Leader at SmartToolsCoaching.com) - Fear can easily ruin the holidays, especially when we become overwhelmed by many demands. But what if we flipped the FEAR switch and asked ourselves are we Forgetting Every Available Resource? In other words, are we asking for help to get things done? When feeling stressed, get assistance from friends and family members. The holiday season is not the time to be trying to do everything all by yourself. Get others to help so you can stress less and enjoy more.
• Joanne Simmons - Nothing soothes my soul like spending quality time with true friends and family members. Being embraced and simply feeling loved, lifts my spirit to another place entirely. During this busy time of the year, do yourself a favor and schedule time with those who are important to you. Whether it's grabbing a quick cup of coffee, meeting to chat while going for a walk, or dining at your favorite restaurant, find the time to fill up with all the love you can muster!
• Linda Hall (Wearable Art & Jewelry Designer TheCreativeArtisan.com) - This is the time of year when we often think about giving to the homeless, less fortunate, or those in need. But what happens to those people during the rest of the year? A group of my friends and I started a new tradition. We adopted a family for the entire year. We provide them with gifts for Christmas. But the biggest gift will be our time helping the children with homework and supplies for school trips, as well as purchasing needed items for the family for the next 12 months. I suggest you consider starting a similar tradition of reaching out to a family or friend in need. By doing so you will realize how blessed you truly are. And when you feel blessed, you feel less stressed and more joyful.
• William Johnson - Even though I live by myself, I fully decorate my home for the holidays. In my living room I have a 9-foot tree with lots of colorful ornaments and lights. Also in my foyer I have a large design which has brightly-wrapped presents, garland, nutcracker men, mistletoe, Santa, and snowmen. Seeing my house decorated in such a way everyday in December makes me feel the spirit of Christmas. I suggest you do likewise regardless of whether or not you have a home filled with people. These days at my place it always "Ho - Ho - Ho - it's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas!"
I thank Carolyn Hartfield, Cleopatra Bell, Donna Lang, Joanne Simmons, Linda Hall, and William Johnson for sharing their great ideas. I hope you find them useful in staying stress-free and joyful at this wonderful time of the year.