Are you like me? I love the holidays. Or I love the idea of the holidays. Or I WANT to love the holidays.
There is so much I love about this time of year- the excitement in the air, family time, thankfulness and general wonder. I love to host gatherings (which I get to do more of this year as I am squarely in the “sandwich generation”) and make our guests feel comfortable, cared for and special.
However, the planning, buying, setting up, cleaning up, decorating, wrapping, and designing the perfect holiday for those I love can be EX. HAUST. ING.
Each year I go into this season with renewed hope of enjoying the season, and end up fried, frazzled, and so, so tired. It’s a blur of business and frenzy, with some bright spots in between.
Last year I had to take a different approach. My health wasn’t great and the stress from my professional career change was still strong. I took some deliberate steps to decrease the load and lighten the weight of it all. I’m happy to report that I had a much more enjoyable holiday season and plan to use the same tactics this year. Here they are:
Be intentional: decide early what you want this time of year to look like for you all, including yourself. What are must haves, nice to haves, and not really important. You will be surprised at what comes to the top. And even more surprised at what isn’t really important after all.
Get organized: I love me a good list.... and lists help me stay organized and on time. Find a process that keeps your organized and stick with it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.... and it’s all small stuff: Learning to go with the flow during the holidays has helped me keep perspective and be lighter during the season. And a good sense of humor goes a long way when the turkey burns, or the dog knocks the tree down.
Take time for you: Make sure you take time out of the hustle to relax. Find what gives you calm and lifts your spirits: Making hot chocolate? Taking a walk in the first snow? Brunch with a friend? Whatever it is, make sure you do it. Your mood will thank you.
Try saying no: Repeat after me: “I don’t have to attend every party, every invite and every event”. Decide what you WANT to do and say no to all the rest. Easier said than done, I know (especially if you have FOMO). You will thank you for protecting your time.
Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help, outsource or distribute the tasks amongst family. You don’t need to make the ENTIRE holiday dinner, nor do you need to decorate every inch and wrap every present yourself. It does not have to fall all on your shoulders. My experience has been that people want to help- they just need to be asked!
Consumption matters: In today’s world, how you consume information can really impact your ability to enjoy this time of year. Be thoughtful in what you watch, how many reels you scroll through, and what you are listening to. Be informed, but also gentle with yourself on the how much you take in the harsh realities of our world. Turn the troubles you see and hear into acts of kindness and help. And be in the moment: put down your devices and experience the holidays to their fullest.
Lastly, I hope you take moments to pause, look around, count your blessings, and pass those blessings along to others. I hope your holiday season is filled with happiness, calmness, and intentional connections with those you love.
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