it's that time of year and we find ourselves muttering,
"Where did the year go? I can't believe it's December already!" and we feel like the kids just went back to school and just yesterday we were enjoying the leaves turning beautiful reds and golds. Now those leaves are gone and we're dreading (or excited if we're a kid at heart) the double-digit inches of snow looming in the forecast.
At Brewster Ambulance, we want everyone to enjoy the holiday season safely and free of stress, so we've come up with an EMS-inspired Top 10 list designed to help you get through the holidays happy.
10. Drive Carefully when out shopping for holiday gifts
Some of us have our total shopping list completed and gifts wrapped by October 30th. The rest of us make a mad dash mid-December around town barreling through our holiday list snagging gifts and treasures wherever we can. Take extra care while you're out and about finishing up your shopping. There will be increased traffic, distracted drivers, and lots of folks heading into and out of town to visit family and friends.
If you can't get all of your shopping done or if the door busters at the mall were too lame for a stocking stuffer or white elephant at the office, don't worry. You can always be creative and pick your gifts up at the local gas station:
9. wear loose clothing for more helpings of holiday goodies
One of the best parts of the holidays is the FOOD. The turkey, the ham, the desserts—oh, the desserts! When you're preparing food for guests, family and friends, it's not just about what you're preparing or making sure there's enough to go around. Make sure to ask your guests if they have any food sensitivities or food allergies, as many holiday treats contain allergens such as nuts, dairy and other ingredients that can trigger an anaphylactic reaction and send you running for an EpiPen®. Or, in Doug's case, you can always rely on last year's leftovers:
8. Keep an eye on the critters
The holidays are not just for the little ones—it's also for the little furry ones. Make sure you consider your family pets when decorating and preparing food as they will love to get in the middle of your pretty holiday decorations. Here's what happened when Denver was left home alone at Christmas:
7. Give yourself permission to check out
If you get to that point where so much is going on you've hit your limit of overwhelm, it's time to chill. Stress affects the body in countless ways from tensing muscles to compromising your immune system. Take extra care of your health throughout the season so you're better prepared to fight off cold viruses family and friends often bring to the party. Treat yourself to frequent time-outs where you can do the things that recharge your batteries. Take a walk, take a nap, chill out to some relaxing music. Here's a sample to get you started:
6. Don't blow your budget
It's not just about getting through the holidays with less stress preparing for travel, family, festivities, dinners and holiday gatherings. Money continues to be the leading cause of stress according to the American Psychological Association in the U.S. It's easy to get caught up in the holiday frenzy of over-shopping and neglecting your budget. When the leftovers are gone and the bills come rolling in, you'll have a whole new level of stress to deal with. Stick to your budget and find creative ways to give gifts that matter, such as gifts of your time and attention, caring and love. Remember to pace your spending during the holidays and resist the temptation to throw around your bank roll like Al Czervik:
5. Delegate prep work and Decorating
In addition to getting all of the shopping done, there's prepping your home for the holidays. Decorating will be more enjoyable when you take a light and easy attitude toward getting it done. Increase the fun by inviting others to join in. Have a decorating party, get the kids involved, try a new tradition, make a contest out of it for "most creative" and other categories. By turning decorating from a chore into a party, you'll add that much more festivity to your holiday scene. Take a tip from Monica Geller on Friends:
4. Watch Those Holiday Hazards
No, we're not talking the surprise in-law visit. We're talking about the increased opportunity for burns, injury or property damage during the holiday season. Whether it's too many lights on the Christmas tree, unattended menorah candles or that boiling pot of gravy on the stove, a whole slew of hazards come into play during the holidays. Make sure to take the right precautions when clearing walkways of snow and ice, setting up holiday decorations, preparing food and burning fires. You wouldn't want to end up with injuries like these two:
3. Lean on Others and Do For Others
There's no better stress buster than appreciating those who mean a lot to you and who have had a big impact on your life. This is what holidays are for—for us to express how we really feel. Most of us love to help others no matter how small the favor, so let others help you, too. It's a great gift you can give and get at the same time. At a time when celebrations, family, friends and gatherings are happening, think of those who may not be having the same opportunities as you and see how you can bring them into your tribe:
2. Remember the Reason Behind the season
Just like in #3 above, the best way to beat stress and the cray-cray that comes with the holidays is always refocusing your priorities and remembering the why behind year-end celebrations. It's not about the stuff, the lights, the turkey or the presents. It's about celebrating love, friendship, appreciation, family and all of the shared beliefs that bring us together. It's a quick way to inject a little perspective during those times when you get a bit annoyed by the holiday rush. And who knows—maybe someone will make your day with an unexpected surprise:
1. kick back, relax and Enjoy it all
The number one way to get through the holidays happy is to enjoy every savory moment of it with a belly full of gratitude and appreciation for all that we have to celebrate and be thankful for. And if you have a touch of extra magic from your holiday spirit, you can make anything happen:
Happy Holidays from all of us at Brewster Ambulance Service
We would like to especially acknowledge all of the first responders, firefighters and law enforcement across the U.S. and share our deepest appreciation and thanks for all that you do for us and our communities.