The next two months are the most hectic months of our year. Somebody hit the panic button!!! It’s 2 weeks until Thanksgiving. That means it’s only 6 weeks until Christmas! If you’re thinking: OH NO!!! SO MUCH TO DO! SO MUCH TO BUY! HOW WILL I EVER GET IT ALL DONE?
Stop. Breathe. Read.
Between work gatherings, school events, church activities, parties, lunches, and let’s not forget the Roast Beast Feasts, it’s really easy to get stressed out, worn down, and end up miserable or sick. You DO NOT want that during what is supposed to be a season of celebration. Add all of these things to an already busy schedule, and you may just end up hiding in the closet rocking back and forth in a fetal position (not that I’ve ever done that, honest).
With a little planning and some communication with your family, you can avoid a lot of the holiday stress. So, just in time for every other top 3, 5, 10 tips list to hit the web, I’m going to share mine with you.
- Get enough sleep: I know you’ve heard that before. It’s the best thing you can do for your sanity. Being exhausted makes you eat more, bitch more, and tolerate less… trust me. So get in bed at a decent hour and get some rest. Your body and your family will thank you.
- Limit your commitments: This is the time of year when there is ALWAYS something happening. Sit down with your family and a calendar and make a plan.
- How many things can you REASONABLY accommodate attending?
- School and/or church events where the kiddos are performing will probably take top priority, and probably the work thing you have to attend. Other than that, be picky.
- Once the mandatory events are on the calendar, make a plan for the rest of your invitations.
- REMEMBER: It’s REALLY OK if you can’t say yes to everyone. As a matter of fact, I’d suggest saying NO to anything you feel like you’re only saying yes to out of obligation. Just saying no to things you don’t want to do can keep your stress levels lower.
- Learn to say no: If your budget and your calendar say that you can’t do the office Secret Santa this year, then say no. Just send a short note to whoever is organizing. I did. My note said: We’re not doing gifts for anyone other than the children this year, to stay within the budget. Which caused a very odd thing to happen… half dozen other people decided to opt out too! My note made it easier for everyone else to bow out gracefully.
- Manage expectations: If you’re doing things differently than you have in the past, communicate that up front to the rest of the family. Sticking to a budget this year? Tell the family not to expect more than a couple of gifts that they really want. THEN STICK TO IT. Make the gifts you give have real meaning instead of just making sure there are plenty of packages to unwrap.
- Make a plan: Plan who you need to buy or make gifts for. Write down any preferences you feel are relevant. Look at that calendar (the one that should only have the commitments you really WANT to keep listed) and figure out when the best days and times are for you to decorate / shop / bake / wrap / whatever. If you do everything at a reasonable pace, you won’t be running ragged by the time Thanksgiving or Hanukkah or Christmas or Yule or… whatever… arrives.
- STICK TO THE PLAN: Making a plan does not mean anything if you don’t stick to the plan (ok, so this tip is really just a reminder to me.)
- Take a timeout: Even the best laid plans mean nothing when you’re running on empty. There will ALWAYS be “one more thing to do”. When you start feeling pressed for time or energy or patience, take some time for yourself. Need some ideas?
- Take a bubble bath
- Take a walk ~ and leave your cell phone at home
- Read (NOT the holiday planning guides!)
- Get a pedicure
- Go for a drive
- Sit on the front porch and watch the squirrels attack the neighborhood cats (also just a tip for me).
- Hug your child … removing the tape from their mouths is completely optional.
- Watch some mindless TV
- Wrestles with the kiddos
- Let things fall through the cracks: Nobody is going to care if you’re missing one side dish out of half a dozen … or that one strand of lights is a little brighter than the others… or if the gifts are not immaculately wrapped… or if the candles are not all the exact same shade. And if they do, they’re an asshole (just sayin).
- Call a friend: When you find yourself at the end of your rope, call a friend who understands and vent. Don’t worry about imposing because they’ll be calling you back in an hour. Remind one another frequently “You are not alone, bitch.” Trust me, if you’re that stressed out… it’s because you have a LOT of people in your life that love you! 😉