Just when you think your plate is full, the holidays arrive and dump more to your already “piled on” plate!! WHAT??? Yep, that’s usually how it goes down for me… Next thing you know I’ve bit off more than I can chew and I’m drowning in stress. Well nope, uhuh, not this year… I have learned from my past experiences. You see, I used to be that crazy person driving all over town through the busy holiday traffic to make sure I visited with everyone in my family who was hosting something. That meant I was usually making at least 3 stops on Christmas Day. But then last year my hunny and I decided against spending the day on the road, especially since we no longer live in the same town and have to drive just short of an hour through the mountains. Instead we decided to stay put and let our little girl enjoy and indulge in her first “real” Christmas experience. As tough as it was not to see our family on Christmas day, our decision worked out for our little family! We were finally able to enjoy a relaxing holiday… free of any schedule, traffic, or drama, it was a marvelous holiday! Since our little experience was such a success, we have taken a cue and have learned other ways to remain balanced during stressful times and holidays. Here are 6 tips to help you keep your sanity:
- Set-up a date to shop. If you know the stores are going to be packed, don’t try to squeeze it in during your hour lunch or after work. Plan your shopping trips when you actually have time to shop and when the stores are less hectic. Try shopping on a weekday during the super early or super late holiday hours for a less frustrating experience.
- Don’t procrastinate. Get your sh*t together early and come up with a game plan to ensure all your “i’s” are dotted and ”t’s” are crossed. The easiest and simplest way to organize madness is to devise a list. Make a list of every single thing you need to do (pay bills, put up lights, wrap gifts, homework, etc…) Be sure to use a calendar to help you keep track of your “to-do list,” and include due dates for each item on your list so you can prioritize effectively what needs to be done.
- Take a breather. Don’t hesitate to take a time out and enjoy a song and dance during this merriest time of madness. Not only is it fun, the dance part of it is good cardio and a great stress buster too! If dancing doesn’t do it for you, then consider some music with a glass or 3 of wine while wrapping gifts. Remember our holidays are what we make of them, so if you’re going to get caught up, make sure it is memory worthy!!
- Moderation… It’s the most important time of the year to remember that most things “fun” can have haunting consequences. Moral of the story… If you want to continue to rock those “perfect-fit” jeans after the holidays, DO NOT binge eat or drink just because tis the season!! Do your best to avoid guilt, but still indulge on your favorite holiday goodies, by serving yourself “sampling” portions instead of regular serving size portions. My rule of thumb is, if you eat “super” healthy 90% of the time (healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet.), then you have about 10% to indulge on what you like, when you like. As far as the drinking goes, it’s pretty simple, drink responsibly and no matter what, don’t drink and drive!
- Take a moment and breathe during stressful times. Unfortunately not all families can end the party with a good silent night, but that doesn’t mean you have to get caught up in it. Instead take a break and calmly remove yourself from the situation. Take a walk or go into a quiet room and think before you act or speak. Give yourself a moment to collect your thoughts and assess the situation. Try looking at the circumstances from a different perspective, and take accountability for your own short comings as well. I can understand how the responsibility can seem a bit much, but it is so worth it! You could totally dodge a crazy outburst and the embarrassing apology, by allowing your actions to reflect an encouraging and optimistic outlook.
- Remain sane and balanced throughout the holidays. Stay focused by keeping things simple. Remember, unless you work for the National Retail Federation, it’s about quality not quantity. Avoid disappointment, failure or frustration, by having ZERO expectations from anyone or anything!! And do not, I repeat do “NOT” forget that good and quality time spent with loved ones is invaluable… the shared laughs, love, hugs, and smiles are food for the soul, and become priceless memories that you can keep in your heart forever.
So that’s it… Those are my 6 tips to help keep good during the holidays. One thing I failed to mention is, do more than just enjoy the holidays… have FUN and CELEBRATE (responsibly of course!)!! And don’t hesitate to get the party started… BE the life of the party by projecting that fun and light-hearted mood! I mean really… how hard is it not to smile back at someone when they’re clearly smiling right at you?? It’s next to impossible, unless, it’s under some scary circumstances!!
What are your tips for staying on the “nice” list? Any do’s or don’ts to help keep good for goodness sake??