Every year, I hear both causal and clinical queries regarding how to stay sane during the holidays. In fact, a Google search of “sane holiday” turns up 357,000 results. By the 40th page of results, the posts become a bit recursive and seem to largely cover the same ground. Here is some quick, sound advice:
• Simple Mindfulness: breathe and be in the moment
• Keeping Perspective: there is much suffering in the world; love is the greatest gift
• Be Realistic: set limits and stick to a schedule
Yes, with just a little bit of effort, you can achieve holiday sanity. The tried-and-true ideas bulleted above will work, but the “new school” ideas are a great way to spice up your eggnog. If you are looking for some new strategies, here is some new ground to break during this upcoming holiday season.
Celebrate a different tradition with someone. Maybe you’ll go to Midnight Mass with a family that routinely attends. Maybe you’ll listen to prayers while lighting the Menorah with friends. Maybe you’ll eat a bowl of Udon before listening to the 108 chimes of Omisoka. Whatever you choose, just do something different. As the millennials sat, YOLO (you only live once)!
Celebrate with exercise. Diet? Heck no! Eat, drink, and be merry this season, but do not take a vacation from exercise. Find time in the days before and after the holidays to exert yourself in a way that your body can handle. Swim some laps, ride your bike, go for a jog, do some yoga, get to the gym – you will be surprised how many comrades will ask to join you in a post-meal walk. Afterwards, feel good about saying “yes” to a cappuccino and a cannoli.
Celebrate with a game. If you have not checked out the board gaming scene in the last 10 years, you are in for a fun surprise. Party and family games have received a major facelift, so there’s no need to be stuck in playing classic games like Monopoly or Yahtzee. Here are some great family games to try (in increasing order of difficulty): Love Letter, Catch the Moon, King of Tokyo, or Pandemic. And check out party games like Codenames, Time’s Up, Telesrations and Dixit.