Keeping it Together During the Holidays

by Elysian Magazine

Winter is rolling in and that means your house guests might be, too. 

The holidays can be a joyous time of year, but they can also be stressful. Visiting family, social obligations, tight budgets, and cold and flu season are just a few things that can contribute to the chaos. Add in the dwindling days with fewer hours of sunlight and you might sooner reach the end of your garland than you would otherwise. 

Know this: You do not have to dominate the holidays. No matter what the magazine covers and social media channels tell you, an endless cascade of festive perfection does not a soothing season make. Keep it together this holiday by slowing down, putting directional intention into your planning, and recognizing when you are asking too much of yourself. 

Consider the following guidance to be a part of your recipe for wellness. Just like your favorite ginger snaps, adjust the recipe to your liking and enjoy with merriment. 

Slow down

  • Simplify. A holiday feast only needs two things – good food and good people. That does not mean you need to cook 30 dishes. A simple menu can be even more sophisticated than an extravagant one. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to up the ante on the dishes you will be serving. Think saffron mashed potatoes, mica-brushed sweet rolls, and salted butterscotch pie. 
  • Avoid over-scheduling yourself. A well-spent day requires rest and nourishment. Do not neglect these essentials and prioritize the sacredness of sleep.
  • Recall the holiday memories that have meant the most to you. Simple traditions like driving to see holiday lights, looking through old photo albums, or making ornaments: Borrow this joy from your previous traditions and weave the nostalgia into your upcoming celebrations. 

Directional intention

  • Adopt a morning ritual. Enjoy your a.m. beverage with a notebook and a list… and perhaps some Vivaldi in the background. The holidays bring more to-do’s than usual, and it is easy to get tangled in the tinsel. Start the day with a plan, but also make peace with any amount of progress.
  • Spread out your energy. What can you do ahead of time? It’s never too early to wrap presents, freeze a batch of cinnamon rolls, or vacuum under your couch. Spreading out your chores can transform the lawlessness of the season into anticipated order. 
  • Think of a few big impact tasks that have sizable payoffs. Getting your car detailed, ordering a freezer full of gourmet cookie dough, or having your home professionally cleaned are things you can do with an extended-release benefit that just keeps giving. 


  • Take the time to check in with yourself at the end of each day. Amidst the rush of the season, do not forget to enjoy it. If you are finding yourself more frazzled than festive, it may be time to reevaluate your schedule. 
  • Acknowledge where you might need help. Say your holiday hosting menu is feeling overwhelming. You could think about outsourcing some of the work, like hiring a mixologist to shake up your signature cocktail. It not only takes work off your plate, it also puts a drink in your hand. 
  • Any gathering around a table has the potential to create a bristly tone for certain topics of conversation. Know your limits and set personal boundaries when it comes to conversing with your friends and family. A stack of trivia cards on the table can do the trick for redirecting the discussion when needed. 

The holidays are not a race to win. 

Slow down, find intention, and listen to your mind, body, and spirit. Celebrate this season by turning into kinship and edging away from the Merry Mania. Remember, your productivity does not equal your self worth, nor does it define abundance.

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