Be honest. Which is more likely to be dancing through your head this holiday season: visions of sugarplums or the beginning of a migraine?”The holidays never seem to live up to their promise,” “They are way more trouble than they’re worth,” “I just run, run, run, trying to cram everything in, and I’m completely sick of them by the time it’s all over.”The key culprit to the demise of holiday cheer is quite often plain old stress. From the Thanksgiving weekend through to New Years Day our lives are a mad rush of office parties, gatherings of friends, and family obligations. There are presents to buy, food to prepare, and schedules to coordinate. It’s not surprising that many people look forward to the season with anxiety rather than joy.We all have stress. The question is: what are you going to do about it? Though ongoing stress can wreak havoc on us mentally and physically, the good new is it is manageable. There are many ways to mitigate its effects, even during the frenzy of festivities. A key element to de-stress your life is the mind. Sometimes a little mental shift is all it takes to get us back into the swing of things. And even if changing your behavior is required, the mind can play an important role in helping to make that adjustment.Get Those Endorphins MovingExercise is a proven stress-reducer, yet during the holidays it’s often pushed right off the calendar by the social whirl. For most people it’s hard enough to get motivated to work out, never mind making it a priority when there are so many other tempting offers.You know how they say great sex starts in the mind? Well it’s true of great workouts too, and the mind can play a vital role in encouraging you to get active. Before you go to sleep at night, imagine yourself working out the next day, feeling great and loving the results. Envision your muscles gaining strength and flexibility. Imagine how energized you are. Come morning, you are much more likely to fit that workout into your day, thanks to inner motivation.An added benefit of mental exercise is that it actually shows some results. No, you’re not going to get buns of steel by just thinking of pumping iron, but studies show that injured athletes who imagine their workout routine in their minds are able to come up to speed much more quickly. There’s even some research that shows muscles gaining tone and strength with visualized exercise as compared to the muscles of people who did nothing at all. So, if you simply cannot find the time in your day to get a workout in, use a few minutes to imagine yourself doing it. You’ll get stress-busting endorphins flowing and it won’t be so hard to get back on the horse the next time.Forgoing the FeastWhat we eat plays a big role in keeping stress at bay. A well-nourished body is better equipped to combat the effects of stress, and foods also have a direct impact on our moods. Unfortunately, during the holidays high-fat sugary foods seem to be everywhere. Even people who typically eat a well-balance diet can be tempted by the delectables that seem to be gracing every table. However, with the help of your imagination you can make a few small changes that will have a positive impact on in how you approach holiday eating.Before you attend a food-filled bash, take a few moments to see yourself behaving exactly as you want to during the party. Research shows that by imagining something in your mind, you’re much more likely to act it out. See yourself enjoying the company of others, having such a good time you hardly even notice if food is in the room. Or imagine yourself at the buffet, choosing a small plate, reviewing the food and creating a reasonable meal for yourself. Then march into that party behaving confidently just as you did in your mind.Sugary foods seem to be particularly plentiful at holiday time. Everywhere you turn some confectionary delight is glittering invitingly. Too much sugar can cause your energy and mood to crash – not helpful when you’re trying to juggle a myriad of holiday activities. Luckily, you can have as many “inner cookies” as you like. Close your eyes and indulge completely in whatever your favorite treat is. Savor it. Enjoy it. Have another if you so desire. Make sure to finish up by feeling highly satisfied. In addition to helping you avoid energy crashes, inner cookies never show up on your hips or thighs.It’s also easy to overindulge with alcohol during the holidays. And while many people think of alcohol as something that helps us to relax, in larger amounts it actually increases stress by placing extra demands on your body, disrupting sleep, and creating hangovers. Some people also drink because they’re shy, and think a little alcohol will loosen inhibitions and make socializing easier. Unfortunately, too much alcohol can cause many of us to act in ways that are less-than-flattering, and the stress of that will likely follow you long after the holidays are over.Limiting alcohol can greatly improve how you feel mentally and physically. As with food, visualize yourself behaving exactly as you want to. For example, see yourself ordering sparkling water, or being so enraptured in conversation you don’t even have a drink in hand. Imagine yourself being lively and interesting, while remaining calm and coherent. See yourself waking up the next morning looking and feeling great, with no regrets, ready to face the day.Take a Mini-Vacation in your MindEven someone with a well-balanced diet and exercise routine is likely to encounter increased stress during the holidays. Often the biggest demand is on your time. If you can’t fit in a quick trip to the Bahamas for a little R&R, take a mini-vacation in your mind instead. The technique is deceptively simple: close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine yourself in a lovely spot, doing something delightful. Focus on how you feel, imagine the sights and sounds. You’ll be amazed at how a vacation in the mind can help you to refresh and rejuvenate, and prepare you to get back into the real world.You can fit these mini-vacations into all kinds of empty spots in your day. Commuting on the bus; waiting in a long line at the checkout, even a quick trip to the bathroom will suffice. And the best part is you don’t even have to pack.Get Out Of Your Own WayWhile a focused mind can help to create wonderful relaxation, what goes on in our heads is often the greatest roadblock to a truly enjoyable holiday season. We want everything to be so perfect that we create an unreachable level of anticipation. Or we so dread yet another family brawl that we enter the season with a sense of gloom and foreboding. We plan to be completely organized and efficient, and yet fear that chaos is just around the corner.When it comes to the holidays, it’s crucial to put things into perspective. If your expectations are of perfection you’re not likely to reach them. Be realistic about what you can get done and rather than focusing on accomplishing every little detail, focus on family and friends. Keep things simple, be prepared, and be willing to be flexible.For some people, the thought of being required to spend time with people they don’t particularly enjoy, especially family, can be very anxiety provoking. The best remedy is a good attitude. Plan for the positive; make it a game to find one story that makes your crabby Grandma Lou laugh. Promise yourself a lovely reward if you can make it through dinner without throwing something at your obnoxious brother. It takes two to tango, and you get to choose whether you let other people drag you down or not. Focus on the best of what family (or friends, or co-workers) have to offer.Stress can invade your life at any time of the year, but it can be particularly troublesome during the “season of good cheer.” How you prepare for and respond to the disruptions determines how quickly you can get back to a sense of calm and get on with your life. The ability to manage stress resides within you; if you don’t take care of it, no one will. When it comes to the holidays, remember the true purpose of season: to revel in loved ones, to enjoy the company of good friends, and to deepen your connection to spirit. All the other things are just details.
Choosing Your Holiday Companions This Year | handpro.info
I have had some disasters on my holidays, and I’m sure there are many other people who have been less than happy with their choice of hotel or resort. To be fair it has never been the quality of accommodation, or the food, but entirely the other guests.My first memory was a holiday to Cyprus some thirty years ago. We as a family had never been on any package holiday before, and the other passengers didn’t seem to be like us. When we got on the coach to our hotel, the holiday rep obviously saw the looks of horror on our faces at the back of the bus, which had rapidly filled up with the fat noisy British lager lout type of folk. She very quickly came up to us, and said not to worry, none of them were staying at our hotel, and ours was the one she would have chosen.The relief was instant, replaced the next morning by incredulity when after breakfast we duly arrived at the hotel pool to find all the sunbeds taken. In our innocence we didn’t realise the our fellow guests had placed towels on their sunbeds to reserve them, which explained the fact that the pool area was virtually deserted and the pool empty.This was our first introduction to the German holidaymaker, and it was to be a long way from our last. We found our fellow guests to be noisy, pushy, and arrogant, indeed we felt outnumbered. I also objected to having to rise at 6am every morning to ‘bag’ our sunbeds by the pool.This feeling re-occurred on almost every holiday throughout the eighties, culminating in a degree of unpleasantness which was my fault.We were in Malaysia, and late one night, probably about midnight we spotted a couple with towels over their shoulders heading for the pool area. Curiosity and alcohol combined made me follow them whilst taking care not to be seen. To my amazement they placed their towels on two sunbeds, and then went off, presumably to bed. I then realised that 50% of the sunbeds had towels on them, and so in a bit of a rage I threw them all in the pool. There must have been around 40 towels in all, and all owned by Germans!!I know this is a kind of a joke amongst British holidaymakers, but there was a small but significant selection of the fat bellied British guests, one of whom never came to a meal without a bottle of brown sauce in his pocket!!Our next holiday in the Seychelles showed us a different side of another nationality. Most of the guests were Italian, so you couldn’t afford to come to breakfast late, because all the pastries and bread had vanished. You could watch whilst items of food were secretly wrapped in paper napkins and stuffed in bags, presumably for lunch later.In Sri Lanka about ten years ago we found the answer to the sunbed problem. After a couple of days hunting for an available sunbed, and we needed four, I paid the ‘pool boss’ about £2 sterling to find us what we needed, which he did almost immediately. I then gave him a further £10 in local currency on the understanding I would not only have my sunbeds reserved but also in the spot I wanted. At least twice he moved irate guests who had actually moved the towels and the reserved sign off the beds. No prizes for guessing the nationality.Now here we are in 2013, and the problem now appears to be the huge increase in Russian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese tourists staying in hotels. Indeed some hotels now have their main menus written first in Russian which is of course impossible to decipher. The Russians don’t so much book sunbeds as remove them to their rooms!!The problem here is much as we found in Greece three or four years ago, when our belongings were just tipped off our sunbeds whilst we were swimming less than ten yards away.Another problem was the wholesale removal of food from a buffet. For example a large tray of cakes, which half an hour later when the table was vacated more than half were still uneaten, most had been handled making them unusable.The Oriental guests, some Chinese, some Korean, and some I think Japanese but it is difficult to differentiate which is which, would hog the egg preparation stand and have half a dozen omelettes piled on a plate along with two or three cakes, and then almost all of it would be left uneaten.Whilst all of this sounds like whingeing about foreigners, the British yob is still alive and well. Loud music played in public places, and the menacing air of tattooed young men with shaved heads makes you very wary and sometimes ashamed of your own nationality.I found a Russian website translated into English which described how certain Russians won’t go to where there are other Russians. We British do the same by avoiding hotels that take bookings from the lower and cheaper end of the UK market.So what can you do to ensure you enjoy a hassle free holiday.Firstly go on the internet where you can easily find the popular vacation places and popular holiday times for every nationality you have difficulty with. As an example 40% of hotel rooms on the Costa Dorada in the summer are taken by Russians, most of whom have left by SeptemberSecondly book to go in the shoulder seasons, outside school holidays if you can. Low season in the Caribbean is the summer, and whilst there is a risk of hurricanes that remains quite low, especially if you go late April, early May.You should look at Dubai in May, Phuket in July.The list of places and times to go whilst not inexhaustible should be large enough to ensure you are not in a hotel or resort dominated by any nationality you can’t stand.