This is my most favorite time of year and it can be my most stressful!
There is so much going on. Working, shopping, baking, Christmas cards and events and dinners. And that’s just what I already have figured out! Inevitably, there will be something or someone that I (or my husband) will have forgotten and I’ll scurry to get it handled.
In the past I’ve felt stressed, harried, undervalued and overwhelmed. I have turned into a person I don’t recognize and have treated people that I love in a way that I’ve been ashamed.
Your emotions are at the very surface – ALL OF THE TIME! You’re not exercising like you want, you’re eating foods that you normally NEVER eat and you’re starting to feel awful!
But what do you do about it? How can you add another thing to your already enormous list?
Here are 9 tips For Less Stress At The Holidays!
- Cut yourself some slack. You juggle so much and at times, it can be too much, at which point you have a melt down and then feel badly about it. You needed to have that release and it’s much healthier for you to express what you’re feeling instead of “stuffing it down” inside. What would you say to someone else telling you the same story?
- What’s YOUR Intention? You need to decide what you want your holiday to be like. What is MOST important to you for Christmas or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate? What is the most important experience you want to have? Is it being with family? Celebrating the more biblical aspects of the holidays? Maybe it’s the shopping, baking or decorating. Decide what it is that’s most important to YOU for the holiday.
- Make decisions accordingly. Now that you know what is most important to you (and your family) for the holidays, make decisions accordingly. When something comes up that you have to do, ask yourself it will move you closer to the experience of the holiday that you want or farther away? Let your intention be the benchmark.
- Ask for help. Women take on the lion’s share of the responsibility for the holiday and it’s okay to ask for help. You’re normally superwoman anyway so it might not occur to someone that you don’t have it handled. It can be help with wrapping (yes it’s okay if the package doesn’t look perfect), household chores or shopping. I schedule a marathon night of shopping and have my husband drop me off outside the door to the store and pick me up right when I walked out. Not having to hunt for a parking space was a huge time saver! Then we’d go to dinner and it was a much less stressful night for both of us.
- Put it off. You’re working full-time, running a household, you’ve got preparations for the holidays in full swing and you’re getting upset because you told yourself you’d have the basement cleaned and organized by the end of the year! Be realistic with yourself and let it go if it isn’t a true priority.
- Modify it. Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean you still have to do it that way. I used to decorate the house from top to bottom. I used to bake hundreds of cookies. I know from my own intention for Christmas that the tree is most important to have decorated so I always make time for that. I love to sit in front of my tree in the morning with my coffee. If I don’t get much more decorated than that, I’m okay with it.
- Don’t do it at all. Is it really important to drag out and set up Aunt Mabel’s 235 piece nativity set when you’re doing it out of guilt? If that time has passed, let it be in the past. If there is a party or dinner you don’t feel like going to, don’t go. Saying no during the holidays is not only healthy, it’s empowering because you’re enforcing a boundary. Good job!
- Schedule it. Because time can be so scarce this time of year, you will want to schedule the truly important things. Make sure you schedule time with the people you most want to see first. You will want to schedule your exercise into your day too, as well as shopping and prep for healthy meals. Make that a priority so you have the energy to come through the holiday and not feel like you got hit by a freight train.
- Plan for it. Food can be tricky this time of year. There are so many food offerings that are rich and outside of what you normally eat. With some planning you can navigate the events with less stress. You might eat something before you go, like a salad. This will keep you from arriving starving and diving into the cheese board as soon as you get in the door. My friend, Lora Ulrich, a nutrition and lifestyle coach (www.thenewyoulifestyle.com), gives other tips such as smaller plates, having healthy snacks on hand and not depriving yourself – make sure you get a taste of your favorites.
Leave me a comment below and let me know which tip you’ll use.
Until next time, here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve!
P.S. If you’d like to get clarity on what your life can look like without stress, click HERE for a FREE Session!