This week, you’re in for a special treat! My friend Jen from A Life Designed, shares her ideas to help you get through the holidays with your sanity intact. Keep reading for tips on minimizing holiday stress and maximizing your enjoyment of the season—and be sure to check out Jen’s blog and social media posts (links below!) for more great advice on simplifying your life.
It seems like everywhere we turn, we’re faced with reminders that the holidays season is kicking into full gear. Commercials on the radio, sales in the stores, and Christmas movies galore. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and many of us are already planning for (and stressing about) the holidays.
It’s easy to get a little frazzled this time of year with all there is to do. We feel like we’re running a race to conquer an impossibly long list to be checked off between now and December 25th.
Unfortunately, as we feel the pull to do more and more during this time of year, we forget to intentionally plan how we want to celebrate this wonderful season.
It can be different this year.
Here are a few areas to consider to help you kick the chaos to the curb so you can enjoy the holidays.
Do only what matters – Think about what matters to you during the holidays and do only those things. Focus on what the season means to you and those you love, and schedule your activities according to those priorities.
Say no often – Sometimes we feel we should say yes to every opportunity and invite that comes our way. But it’s often those extra things we commit to that make us feel frenzied and tired. Say no to the things you don’t need to do. Give yourself permission to not do it all.
Simplify where you can – Consider what you can simplify in order to save time. If it’s a hassle to get the decorating done, then choose to put out a little less. Bake three of your favorite cookie recipes instead of six. Cut back a little. Simplify where you can.
Do what you dread first – Yep, that’s right. Pick the thing you dread the most (for me it’s writing and addressing Christmas cards), and do it first. You won’t spend the entire month of December worrying about that one thing. It will be off your mind and off your list!
Make a budget and a gift list – Create a realistic budget for how much you can spend, and then make a list of the people for whom you want to purchase gifts. Keep your receipts as you shop and check gifts off your list as you buy them. You’ll not only keep track of your progress, but you’ll see where your money is going. When the budget has been spent, you’ll have a good stopping point.
Experiences instead of things – Could you gift a dinner out, tickets to a play, or some other activity that could be enjoyed together instead of a thing? Could you meet a friend for a cup of coffee and some girl chat instead of exchanging meaningless trinkets that neither one of you needs? Most of us value the connections we feel with others during the season more than the items we exchange. Be bold and ask for time with those you treasure in lieu of presents.
Think practical – Consumable items that can be used up are perfect gifts. Coffee, tea, candles, perfumes, lotions, and food items. These won’t gather dust, and they won’t add to another person’s clutter. They will serve a purpose and be enjoyed. This is a perfect alternative for the person who already has all they need.
Maintain your routine – It’s easy this time of year to eat unhealthy foods, skimp on sleep, and opt out of our exercise routines. But it’s doubly important to keep your healthy habits going, and take care of yourself so you’ll be feeling good throughout the season.
Acknowledge negative emotions when they surface – Let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful for many. Some of us have conflict with family members. We have experienced the loss of someone that’s left an ache that can’t be filled. Or we have baggage from previous experiences that make us feel sad, anxious, and missing what once was. We don’t have to feel happy about everything during this time of year. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t judge yourself for having those feelings.
Take a time out – Do one thing each day to unplug and recharge, and get away from the holiday preparations. Have a quiet cup of tea and enjoy it without multi-tasking. Escape for a few minutes to read a good book. Listen to some holiday music curled up on the couch. Those little moments will help you feel more rested and keep your mind calm.
Let’s stop commiserating about how crazy busy this time of year is, and trade busy for simple.
Let’s do more than survive. Let’s enjoy the holidays again.
Trade chaos for calm this Christmas.
The next couple of weeks, we’ll talk in more detail about gift giving (the number one cause of stress during the holidays) and self care. So hop on over to A Life Designed and sign up so you’ll get new articles delivered right to your inbox. Here’s to a calm and peaceful holiday season!
Jen writes about creating a simple, meaningful life with less stuff on her blog, A Life Designed. Visit her there to get updates and freebies on how to create a life that’s just right for you. And follow her on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.