Eat less and enjoy it more. Editor Scott Mowbray told me recently that he’s been eating less (since he’s on the Social Diet) but he’s never enjoyed food more. At the holidays, we eat a piece of cake and then want pie, a cookie, biscotti, etc. It’s just so much! Really, we should focus on one thing, a small treat, and truly, deeply savor it. Carry that philosophy over to what you make. Instead of 10 dishes, make it 7. Instead of 6 pies, make it 3. And with the money you would have spent on the extra dishes or desserts, make a contribution to a local church, temple, or charity. Mindfulness and thankfulness go hand in hand: If you feel like you’re missing something, share it with someone who really does need it, and you’ll find you’re more thankful for what you do have.
Make time to meditate. During the holiday season you have no time, or almost no time, to focus on you, but you should find the time. Showers are five minutes, ten minutes even. They’re a good time to zone out. You can’t be on your phone or on the computer. Your kids aren’t in the room. It’s just you, and it’s a good time to focus on being present. Feel the water on your head and on your back. Take in the scents and smells from your shampoo and soap. Enjoy the moment. I’ve found that taking just 5 minutes to be mindful or present at any point in my day helps me take the craziness down a notch, and it helps me make better choices all day long.
Turn the monotony into a reason to celebrate. I actually enjoy wrapping gifts more than others. Some people get overwhelmed, even frustrated with it. Put yourself into a position where you can enjoy it. When I was growing up, my mom would bring all the presents we needed to wrap over to our neighbor’s house. The adults would have wine and wrap presents while the kids played. Everyone had a good time, and a task some people dread became something we looked forward to.