The holiday season is almost here and for most of us that means lots of extra social obligations and a to-do list a mile long. Is it possible to reduce the stress and frantic pace of this time of year? I say yes, but it requires a little planning. Here are some steps to take now to ensure a joyous and relaxed holiday that won’t leave you feeling completely exhausted.
1. Make a list (and don’t forget the fun stuff) – Even if you’re not typically a list-maker, this is an important step to keep all your tasks in mind for the next month. Write down the big and small things you need to tackle: shopping, baking, decorating, card writing, menu planning, cleaning the house, etc. Be sure to include the fun activities you want to share with your loved ones as well, such as decorating cookies, watching holiday movies, volunteering, or going to a show. The activities that you most look forward to should be prioritized along with the obligatory ones.
2. Schedule it out – Take a look at your calendar and make sure you’ve added all your social events for the upcoming months. Block out time to complete all the items on your holiday list and be sure to overestimate to account for the snags and complications that will inevitably come up.
3. Omit some things – Take a step back to look at the schedule you’ve created and be honest with yourself about how realistic it is. Have you filled every spare minute between now and January 1st? Were you able to fit in the fun items from your list? Will you still have time to recharge and keep your regular sleep and exercise schedule? Consider saying no to some of the non-essential items or events that you don’t really enjoy. Also, look for things that can be delegated, such as utilizing in-store gift wrapping services or ordering some of the holiday meal from a local caterer.
4. Don’t do it all every year – One final tip to reduce your holiday workload is to think about staggering traditions across years. Instead of frantically doing it all this season, focus on a few of your favorite activities now and plan to do the others in future years. For example, if you have special guests staying with you this year you might want to deck out your house with lots of decorations. In that case, forgo some other tasks like baking cookies or sending handwritten cards to your list, with the intention of revisiting them next year when you don’t have a houseful of people.
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Make it fab!