Too much food. Too much stress. Too much spending. Too much drinking. Too much unhappy family time. If that’s what you look forward to for the holiday season, you’re setting yourself up for misery. No wonder many people start the new year heavier, unhappy, and in more debt.

There’s no holiday magic that gives you a free pass on what it takes to be healthy physically or mentally. The principles of healthy living apply during the next six weeks just as they do the rest of the year. It’s not too late to plan some better strategies.

Here’s how to get through the holiday season happier and healthier:

  1. Budget your money. Love, time, and caring will mean so much more to the people you care about than an expensive gift. Only spend the money on gifts and celebrations that you truly have available to spend.
  2. Learn to say NO. You don’t have to go to every party or family gathering you are invited to. Ask yourself before agreeing: Will this event be something I regret attending in the future? Can my presence benefit someone else in an important way? If the answers to those questions are NO, then just say NO!
  3. Budget your food. It’s just fine to celebrate with food and feasting as long as it’s not a six-week binge. Stick to the basics: if 80% of your food and drink is healthy, feel free to enjoy extra treats for the remaining 20%.
  4. To give is more blessed than to receive. Your loneliness or anxiety may almost magically go away when  you focus on finding ways to help others, especially those who cannot return the favor.
  5. Remember the meaning. Christmas isn’t about us anyway: it’s a celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Take time to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, and allow the Christ of Christmas to be born in your heart anew.

May you have a most meaningful and joyful holiday season!

Your turn: What’s the most important aspect of the Christmas holiday season for you? How do you plan to assure you don’t become overextended? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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