Flatwater Shakes Blog
The Flatwater Shakespeare Blog is curated by our Resident Scholar, Dr. Stephen Buhler.
Steve is the Aaron Douglas Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been involved in some way in every season of Flatwater's twenty seasons of producing Shakespeare.
10 Ways to Keep the Holidays Stress-Free, Merry and Bright
Consider for a moment that your life is like a car, and you’re running from place to place. When the gas tank runs out, there’s no way to move forward. Your personal life and how you treat others is very much like this gas tank. You’re the best version of yourself when your tank is full. Around the holidays, it’s important now more than ever to focus on having a stress-free season where you can truly be present and enjoy the time spent with family, friends and loved ones. Check out these 10 ways to remind yourself to keep your tank full this holiday season and how to give back to others along the way.
1. Make a List, Check it Twice
The holidays often come with an overwhelming list of things to do and places to go. Santa had it right when he was making a list and checking it twice! One common practice to remove stress is to write down your plans and obligations in order of importance. What can you eliminate? What is most important to you? Write it down and start to rule some things out!
2. Spread Holiday Cheer
Sometimes to put a smile on your own face, it’s helpful to put a smile on the faces of others! Consider volunteering this holiday season. Not only has volunteering been proven to boost the moods of volunteers, but you’re also directly impacting and helping others in the best way! It’s a win-win to fill up your cup with love and joy.
3. Give What You Can
The holidays are a season of giving. If you’re able, consider giving, whatever that may be! From food donations to your local food bank, to a monetary contribution to your favorite organization, there’s no wrong way to give back.
4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the presents and to think about the things you should be doing but don’t have time to get done. Remind yourself not to sweat the small stuff for your own mental health. Will what you’re worrying about matter in a month? Chances are, it won’t! Remind yourself to give yourself grace.
5. Take Time For Yourself
Meditate. Read a book. Go on a walk. With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to remember that you need to focus on self care so that you don’t stretch yourself too thin. Self care is different for everybody, so do what makes the most sense for you.
6. Take Time Off (REALLY)
Resetting and recharging are so important to overall happiness. Use this as a time to truly unplug. Spend time with your family and friends. Put your electronics away. Chances are, after a short break, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world, doing the most good you can do.
7. Set a Budget
Buying gifts for those you love can be stressful when you’re working from a budget. Think of alternative gifts that don’t cost a lot but that come from your heart. This could be an act of service for the recipient or something homemade.
8. Indulge and Balance
The holidays are synonymous with indulging in the foods we love the most. Go for it! Find a way to work in some healthy balance, but don’t deprive yourself completely of the things you love. Completely depriving yourself may make you feel worse than if you had actually indulged in moderation.
9. Have Fun
Don’t get so wrapped up in the stressful parts of the holiday season that you forget to have fun! Start a snowball fight or go ice skating. Spend time with the ones you love. Whatever you find to be fun, get out there and do it!
Exercise doesn’t have to mean an hour on the treadmill. Pick up trash around your neighborhood. Take a 30 minute leisurely walk. Whatever you do, exercise can help boost endorphins, so it’ll help boost your mood!
When you have a full cup or a full tank, so to speak, you’re able to give your best self to the world. Remember to take care of yourself this holiday season and give back when you can. The spirit of the holiday is all about spending time with the ones you love and giving back where you can! Help spread holiday cheer this year for yourself and others by following these ten steps!