The holiday season is just about to ramp up big time. We are past Halloween and Remembrance Day, and while there were some decorations up November 1st (shame on them), we are now about to be thrust willing or not into full out holiday mode.
Does the “busyness” of the holidays stress you out? Overwhelm you? Make you want to just say to H E double hockey-sticks to it all?
I do like Christmas, I really do but it can be a bit much if you let it.
In fact, last year I decided to skip it completely and went zip-lining in Belize instead. I fully admit that I felt giddy with the sense of freedom: no decorations, no shopping (besides some new warm weather clothes), no baking, no parties, no cards, nada, nothing.
I spent over 2 weeks relaxing in the sun; it was awesome—one of the best Christmas’s ever (if you have never skipped Christmas, I highly recommend you try it at least once in your life).
However, this year is the exact opposite. I know it is going to be super busy with family coming to stay, tons of shopping, cooking, parties, visits, cards…the whole shebang.
But I’m not too worried because you see over the years, I have devised my very own system for not just surviving the holidays (and especially the 12 days of Christmas), but for thriving during the holidays so that come January 2nd, I don’t need a vacation from it all.Not only survive this holiday season but thrive with these 12 tips!Click To Tweet
Curious? Well then read on…
Here is my top 12 list for thriving during holidays.
Pick your battles; be realistic in what you can do
This may seem strange but it is the KEY to thriving during the holidays. Right now (as in today) create your overall holiday strategy. What parties you need to go to? Who is visiting? Where do you need to be? How much baking REALLY needs to happen? How many decorations and when are you putting them up? Shopping? Etc.
Then look at your plan and cut at least a quarter if not half off your to-dos. Chances are you made such a massive plan that there is no humanly possible way you can do it all. Be realistic and pick only the absolutely most important things and then let the rest go. Yes, let it go, let it go.
See number 1. I make lists for everything. What I’m buying, baking, meal plans, etc. You name it and I have a list for it. This keeps me super organized and I get to put big checkmarks next to things on a daily basis. And who doesn’t like checkmarks?
Organize your shopping.
I have a shopping strategy that works super well for me. It might for you too. I have two gift shopping days. One in November and one in December. Aside from a bit of additional online shopping and groceries, that is it. The November shopping day is for all the gifts I need to mail. I make a list of all I want to get and I spend a day getting it. Then the next day I package it all up and mail it. Done.
The December shopping day, I actually really look forward to. It’s a day to myself. I pick a weekday. I have my lists. I wear comfy shoes. I grab my favourite latte and start early. I take a break for lunch at my favourite place and really treat myself.
I can usually get everything I need in one day (yes, I have 2 kids, a spouse, parents, siblings, friends, etc. to buy for). I am a shopping machine that day, but then it’s done. I feel like a warrior queen coming home from war with my trophies.
Wrap as you buy. Have a wrapping party
Once you have a gift, wrap it. The day after your epic shopping day (or as soon as you can), put half a day aside to wrap. I like to invite a friend over to help. We have some Bailey’s and snacks. Put on some good tunes and wrap wrap wrap.
Then we go and do the same at her house on another day. It makes the wrapping so much more fun and gets it done super fast. If you don’t want o invite a friend over, get your spouse to help (if they claim they can’t wrap, teach them).
Keep up with your exercise
Get outside and go for a walk. Go to the gym if you usually go. Do that Jillian Michaels DVD. Exercise is not just good for your body, but it is amazing for stress relief and your mental health. After a day of battling crazy shoppers, instead of drinking a goblet of wine, go for a short walk around the block. Your mind will thank you.
Sleep as much as you can
Go to bed early. Have a nap if you like. If you normally aren’t a good sleeper, now is the time to rest as much as possible. I generally have a nap most afternoons. And, I also go to bed at least a half hour earlier whenever possible.
(Side note: I don’t know about you but wine keeps me wide awake at night. I feel super sleepy at first, then after about an hour I am wide awake for the rest of the night. Avoid those types of things when you can.)
Eat as well as you can; pay attention but don’t stress about it
I generally eat fairly well but I do love my yummy holiday treats like most people. I love to bake too. In my opinion, life is meant to be enjoyed and lived. Yes, I want to be healthy but I am also not going to stress big time about it (there are enough other things to worry about).
So while you shouldn’t pig out, and yes paying attention to what you are eating is important, don’t stress about it. That is what January is for. Enjoy the moment while it is there.
Have a cookie baking day
Want my secret for getting all your baking done in one day? Have a cookie making day event. I get the kids to invite some friends over, I invite a friend or two and then suddenly you have tons of helpers. I often make the dough the night before. Then we put on some great music and create an assembly line with someone rolling the dough out and cutting the shapes while others decorate.
I usually oversee it all and make those cookies that don’t need to be rolled. At the end of the afternoon, we all clean up together and have tea/hot chocolate and sample our cookies. Everyone gets to take a few home too. And you can check one more thing off your list.
Take quiet moments for yourself, every day
Ask for help
If there was ever a time it was ok to ask for help (and really that is anytime), the holidays are it. You do not have to do it all yourself. Get help with everything from decorating to baking, shopping, making lists, all of it.
The entire family can be involved. Smaller children can help with decorating and cookie making. Older children can help with wrapping and dishes. Everyone can and should be involved. That way you all have time to snuggle on the couch together to watch the Christmas classics.
Let it go; you don’t need to be perfect
When it comes down to it, there will be times when you just can’t fit something in. And that’s ok. Let it go. No guilt. No shame. Just let it go. You do not have to be perfect. Your house does not have to be perfect. It is the imperfections that make us interesting.
The holidays shouldn’t just be about lists and getting things done. It is about spending time with loved ones and having fun, sharing your love and gratitude for one another. Bringing joy to the world starting with you. So be sure to add fun and play as much as you can into your plans. Dishes can wait.
Every single day I need quiet alone time. This does not include sleeping at night. I mean things like a relaxing bubble bath, meditating, reading a book, or even watching a sappy girly movie. While I love everyone dearly, I need time to myself too to unwind and just purge my brain. You do too.
Even the most extraverted person needs time alone. Learn to enjoy your own company.
Ultimately, it comes down to putting your own mental and physical health first, so that you can then help create the most joyous experience for your friends and family. If you are run down and grumpy… well that’s just no fun at all.
P.S. I could actually give you a list of over 100 tips, but then you would be here reading. Instead, go outside and play.
P.P.S. I’m sure you have some great tips for thriving during the holidays too. Please do share in the comments below. We’d love to read them.
About the Author, Heather E. Wilson
Need help? Would you like to learn more ways to avoid burnout, add more fun, more success, and more joy into your life and business? Heather E. Wilson, is a certified transformational coach, author and international speaker who loves to share her passion for helping you take charge of your life and business so that you can have the success and fun you've always dreamed about.
Go to HeatherwilsonInternational.com to view more of her free training and to receive a copy of her FREE ebook: The Burnout Principle.