The holiday season can be exciting and fun, but it can also be exhausting or lonely for some. Retirees need to keep in mind some simple but helpful tips for making the season more enjoyable and less stressful.
1.Keep your focus on the reason for the season. The holiday season – no matter what your religious faith – is a time of celebration and spiritual refreshment. The beginning of a new year can be a time of new commitments, new beginnings and new opportunities. The season offers a reminder and a chance to reorder our priorities and make the most of each day. Adjusting our perspective in light of spiritual teachings can bring brightness and hope into our daily lives throughout the coming year.
2.Pace yourself. Many people arrive at the actual holiday too exhausted from preparations to actually enjoy the day. Many people find it helpful to limit the amount of time and energy spent on any part of the preparations for the holiday at a given time. Some people structure their days to shop for two hours, then rest for one hour, and then do another task. It is also important to pace yourself in terms of activities and events. Sometimes, what we need most is control over our time and activities. If you are becoming overwhelmed by the array of events and activities and you find that your schedule is filling rapidly, you might do well to make some choices. Limiting your activities to the most important events might help you pace yourself and prevent the exhaustion that can drain the fun from everything.
3.Don’t be alone unless you want to be. The holiday season can be very sad and depressing for those who find themselves alone. If you don’t have family or friends nearby with whom you plan to spend part of the holiday, you can still spend the day with others. Check in your community for gatherings of others who would otherwise be alone. Or – better yet – find a community opportunity to help others on the holiday. Most communities have programs that offer meals to the homeless and needy. You can be with others and feel wonderful about the way you spend the day by volunteering to help with preparation and serving of the meals.
4.Don’t lose sight of the budget. Overspending during the holidays is very easy. But it can create a lot of stress in January when the bills start to arrive. It is so much fun making purchases of gifts for children and grandchildren that the budget can easily be forgotten. Be honest and realistic about what you can afford to spend on gifts and entertaining. Then stick to the budget. Keep in mind that a modestly-priced gift that fits the recipient can mean more than the most expensive new thing available. Some families manage spending by setting clear limits on the cost of gifts for the adults in the family. This allows them to spend more on the younger children. Be creative in thinking about holiday spending and try to keep your focus on the right gift for each individual rather than the most expensive.
5.Don’t lose sight of your dietary needs. Many of us have special dietary needs as we grow older. Whether we are just eating smart or we are watching sugars, fats and cholesterol, many of us need to maintain a healthy diet – even during the holidays. In most cases, it is okay to splurge a bit at a holiday dinner or party if we adjust our diets during the rest of the day to keep our overall diet within bounds. Remember that making yourself sick by ignoring your dietary needs will not make the holiday more enjoyable for you or those around you.
I hope these very practical tips will help you get the greatest possible enjoyment and renewal from the holiday season. By keeping things in perspective and monitoring spending and diet, you will probably enjoy the holidays more. Pacing yourself and keeping a view to the meaning of the season in your belief system will help you avoid exhaustion and renew yourself as the New Year begins.