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Find Your Happy this Christmas

Where in the world is “happy” this Christmas?

It might be the most wonderful time of year, but it’s also the most stressful, busy and downright exhausting. So, how do you find happy amidst all this noise?

Holiday survival starts with familyI’ve decided to step off the express train to Stressville and get real. The holidays are about family. That’s it. I’m making a pact with myself – and those I love – to enjoy this Christmas instead of just surviving it.

If you’re struggling too, feel free to steal my holiday strategy.

Freedom from seasonal insanity

Despite the lessons bestowed on us by the recession, one in four families carry an average unpaid balance of $6,000 on credit cards. A few years ago we began focusing on gifts that bring us together, experiences rather than stuff. Some of those experiences have been a weekend away for all of us together. Some have been as simple as an afternoon hiking and dinner out together. The added bonus is that the experience is often in the spring or summer, which helps spread the costs out throughout the year. 

You better not shout, you better not pout

We put the fun in dysFUNctionalFor me, Christmas is an emotional time. Missing loved ones far away or those no longer with us can make celebrating a challenge. I try to briing it back to what matters most - celebrating the people right in front of me.

  • Hone in on traditions that bring you joy. Whether it's attending Christmas Eve Mass or opening presents on Christmas morning, being together is my goal.
  • Eliminate traditions that create stress. Yes, it’s that simple.
  • Create new traditions based on what you need to be happy.
  • Remember the lonely and forgotten. Find out how your family can extend the Christmas spirit to the less fortunate in your community.
  • Pay it forward – ask someone new to join you at your Christmas table, include new friends on your Christmas card list or deliver coffee to a stressed store clerk.

Put a stop to those nerves-a-twitching

Path to TranquilityMore than half of North Americans are now considered overweight – and that’s before the Christmas pudding is served. We exercise too little and sleep has become a distant, fond dream.

As a culture, we’re creating our very own health crisis.

Your body needs as much attention as your state of mind during the holiday season. So, ditch fast food and the couch and do at least one thing every day that will help you feel better physically, emotionally and spiritually.

  • Choose your celebrating carefully. Your health and mental well-being is more important than an appearance at the office party.
  • Maintain consistency. Instead of resolving to lose weight in January, decide not to gain it during the Christmas holidays. Before parties, grab a snack so you don’t arrive hungry. And whatever you do, don’t stand beside the food table.
  • Zero in on little things that bring you joy.
  • Attend spiritual events like church services, choir concerts or church pageants. They may be just what you need to give your flagging spirit a boost.
  • Exercise for 20 minutes a day. Go sledding with the kids, walk in the woods or grab your lover for some bedroom aerobics. All exercise is good!
  • Mix friend and family get-togethers with a good old-fashioned cookie bake.
  • Go to bed earlier. Fewer than 6 hours sleep spells trouble at any time of year. During the tiring holiday season, leave parties earlier or schedule get-togethers earlier in the evening or on weekends.

Where in the world is happy?

Happiness is right hereMuch as I love to travel, I’m staying close to home this Christmas. Being with family and making memories together takes priority for me right now. Come January, I’ll get back on the plane and wing my way To Dallas and Las Vegas.  But for now, there’s an open bottle of wine, carols playing and a decorated tree waiting for to be enjoyed.

What’s your holiday survival strategy this season? How are you giving back? I’d love to hear about your favorite charity and your best strategies for finding happy through the holidays. Share with us below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter and let’s start sharing!

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