Taking Back the Holidays: Savor the Season

The holidays are a special time of year that should be savored—but sometimes the pressure of the season becomes overwhelming. Sure, you’re eating the gingerbread, but are you really tasting it?

Ironically, worry and stress can make you more likely to overindulge, yet less likely to enjoy it. But if you make a choice to savor every bite of holiday ham and appreciate each string of lights, you have a better chance of feeling calmer, healthier, and joyful throughout the season.

Here are three ways to experience more of the season, instead of gulping it down.

1. Start your day with a smile. Take some time for yourself before launching into full holiday mode. Instead of drinking a quart of coffee right off the bat, take ten minutes for an activity that simply pleases you. Read a page from your nightstand book. Listen to your favorite song. Stretch or meditate. Snuggle with your kids. Enjoy every second, because this sweetness is happening right now.

(Read more on creating stress-reducing rituals.)

2. Share time with a friend. Schedule some time with a friend or family member. Choose a place where you can pay attention to each other. A coffee shop might work, or a quiet moment in the kitchen. Relish the time with this person. Consider sharing one way your lives are bettered by knowing each other. Make a plan for the next time you’ll spend time together.

3. Take a mental snapshot. Rather than be focused on the next thing, the next meal, the next event, be sure to ground yourself in the here and now. Look around, and make a sensory impression of where you are and who you’re with: The child chasing the cat around; the smell of the fireplace; your aunt’s signature laugh coming from the kitchen. Blink and this holiday season will be over. Before it is, get as much sweetness out of it as you can.