Surviving the Holidays: A Guide for Women Over 60


I have found holidays can be stressful at any age, but for me they are especially so as I tend to over obligate and take little care of myself.

The whirlwind of shopping, events, family, cooking, crafts, travel and other commitments leaves us ignoring our personal needs. Not only does this cause unnecessary stress but it will weaken our strength and can bring on illness.

How do we bring a little control into our life during these days of non-stop expectations? Someone shared an idea with me that I found appealing, and then I expanded upon it to see how much I could do to regulate the time, expense and commitments that come from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

The idea is comprised of “four things.” The thought behind the idea was to have less spending and consumerism, and more gratitude taking the focus away from a multitude of gifts.

I found this a refreshing idea. A little less commercialism – as well as less stress – appeals to me, and hopefully, after reading this, it will nudge you, too. The four items are: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.

As I embraced this concept, it occurred to me that I could use it for more than the area of gift giving. This lead to looking at other areas in life where I could incorporate the idea.

Social Gatherings

A good example is to start with invitations. Many of the parties or events can be reduced to four you enjoy and want to attend. The others can be politely declined. You will control your time, expense and look forward to the gathering.

Charitable Organizations

I have found as I have aged the non-profit community looks to me as a volunteer more, often thinking I have more time to give their organization. I keep my volunteer obligations to four main establishments I support and enjoy. Give your time to the things you are passionate about.


Many of us have family living far away, and often it’s much easier for us to travel to them rather than the other way around. Using the four-thing process may be a little more difficult here, but you can pick how and when to visit.

Perhaps using video call time will help with this area of your life. You could also plan for a visit at a different time of the year and starting a new celebration, such as a holiday in summer.

Healthy Habits

During this time of the year, we can neglect our health with bad eating habits, overindulging and overlooking exercise routines. To combat this issue, pick four things you will pledge to do daily.

For example, you may decide to walk four times a week. Perhaps you will limit having treats to only four times during the month. Whatever the choices, you are in control of what will keep you on track and healthy during a time that can derail your well-being.

You may not need four things, and three or five may work better for you. Remember, the goal is to know what is important to you, what you can work with and why you are making the choice.

This time of the year is for us to enjoy. So rather than survive the time between November and January, work to have special moments and a joyous holiday that is healthy and rewarding.

What plans do you have for the holidays this year? What are you going to do to minimize stress and enjoy the holiday season? Please share your ideas below!

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