Simplify the Season

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
~ Hans Hofmann


It’s the most wonderful (stressful, hectic, chaotic) time of the year! The holidays are a special and joyful time, however, they can also be very stressful. Many people feel burdened by deadlines, obligations, or financial hardship. Caregivers can feel especially overwhelmed with how to manage the holidays while taking care of their loved one.

This month, we want to encourage you with two easy ways to minimize your stress. We believe the more you simplify, the more you can truly enjoy this time of year. Here are some suggestions on how to focus on what matters so you can enjoy the holidays!

Step One: Leave Things Undone

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” ~ Lin Yutang

If the holiday has become a chore, try your best to erase some items off your list. Think through all of the tasks that are most important to you (family traditions, finding a special gift for someone, etc.), and set the other tasks aside for a moment (baking desserts for the holiday party, putting up all the Christmas decorations,  and so forth). Decide which tasks enhance the holiday experience and which ones are only causing stress.

For example: instead of getting family pictures taken, sifting through your address book, and ordering the holiday cards, maybe you and your family can go for a drive one night to a beautiful neighborhood and look at all the Christmas lights. Enjoy your time together reminiscing about this past year. No postage required.

Step Two: Focus on the Simple Pleasures

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” ~ Elise Boulding

Now that you have pared down on the chores, you can enjoy what’s left! It is very easy for human beings to complicate things. Maybe you like to indulge, maybe you just want everything to be perfect. Unfortunately, this can still cause anxiety and can distract you from what it really means to be joyful or content. Commit to focusing on what matters.

If you are hanging ornaments as a family and you find yourself getting frustrated that no one is doing it “the right way” or directing their every move, try to let go. Pour the eggnog, turn on some music, and just savor a peaceful evening together. Or if your mornings have been rushed, spend a couple minutes on something simple, yet therapeutic. Make a cup of tea, talk about what you are thankful for, or read an uplifting story.

May you have a lovely holiday season where stress is nowhere to be found and sweet memories abound!