Chill and Be Merry:
8 Ways to Make the Most of the Holidays

This time of year is supposed to be about celebration and gratitude, but sometimes it feels like a never-ending list of things to do. Gifts to buy, cookies to bake, relatives to visit–throw in a few extra parties, gift exchanges, and unexpected snowstorms, and it’s easy to feel like you’re careening toward chaos on an out-of-control sleigh.

Want to get through it–and have fun in the process? Step one: stop stressing. If the holidays feel less than jolly, Like a Boss Girls gives you permission to take a breather. Here’s how to make the most of the holidays:

Be kind to yourself: Think about what you love about this time of year and focus your energy on those things. Steer clear of obligations as much as possible, and do what makes you happy. If baking feels like a chore, don’t offer to make homemade cookies for a friend’s party. Save yourself the trouble and pick up a sweet treat at the store instead. If holiday music puts you in a good mood, set up a Spotify playlist or a Pandora a channel and deck your emotional halls with a seasonal soundtrack.

Take care of your body: Know your limits, and stick to them. If you find yourself eating too many holiday treats, plan out some healthy meals, and make sure you get plenty of exercise. Need a little motivation to get moving? Invite a friend to exercise with you. Look for an ice skating buddy, or someone who’ll bundle up and join you for a long walk.

Be considerate of others: Everyone is extra busy (and often extra-stressed) at this time of year, so be as understanding as possible. If a friend cancels plans, don’t take it personally. If your uncle starts a political argument during a family dinner, agree to disagree. Being considerate applies to strangers, too. If you catch yourself feeling Grinchy, find a way to give back to people in your community who are really struggling.

Remember–it’s not about stuff: The people in your life care about you, not the stuff you buy them. Most of us already have more things than we know what to do with. When you give gifts, consider giving the gift of an experience (like a dinner out or tickets to a rock show). It’s a chance to create new memories with someone you love. Another option: Make a donation to a charity your friend or family members support, and do it in their name.

Take a night off: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to cross something off your social calendar and spend some time at home. You’ve been doing your best all year long and you deserve a night off to appreciate the truly wonderful things about the holiday season. Get ready for a few hours of screen time with a holiday movie, a cozy blanket, and a mug of hot cocoa or a cinnamon-flavored latte.

Take a real break: If you get vacation days, use them. If you have a few weeks off from school, make the most of that time. Instead of rushing around trying to make this the BEST HOLIDAY EVER, give yourself permission to relax and take it easy. See friends. Make a snowman. Catch up on sleep. 

Tell people how much they mean to you: Whether you’re spending time with family and friends or are thinking of loved ones who are far away, let them know that you value having them in your life. A handwritten holiday card is nice, but if you’re too busy for that, send a text or make a phone call to let someone know you’re thinking about them. This time of year is hard for a lot of people, and it always helps to know your friends care enough to keep in touch.

Focus on the future: The holidays are going to be over before you know it, and we’ll be headed into a new year. If you get a few minutes to yourself during the holidays, think about your goals and plans for the coming year. List everything you want to accomplish, and think about what’s involved. Enter each step on your calendar, and you’ll start the year with a plan for making your biggest dreams come true.