Well folks, it’s November and you know what that means. So today I present the obligatory article about holiday stress and what you can do to manage it. This is something I’m dealing with myself as I attempt to juggle a myriad of activities for two kids, doctor and ortho appointments, my daughter’s birthday, and a two week visit from an elderly relative. And I didn’t even mention the actual holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas!
I believe that one of the biggest keys to managing stress during this time is simply to find an organization system that works for you. I’m a big fan of lists any time there’s more than a few things on your to-do list. Generally, I seem to have to keep track of a few different categories: events, gifts to buy, and errands to run. Maintaining a calendar, either written or electronically, will help you transfer your thoughts and schedule from your head into a so called back up system. This helps free your mind from the stress that goes along with trying to remember everything. I know that without my master calendar I maintain for events, I would never make it anywhere on time, and am quite sure I would miss some events completely. Consult your calendar on Sunday to see what’s coming up for that week and then daily to make sure you don’t forget anything. Be sure and schedule things you don’t think you need to. When things get hectic, little things like remembering to fill a prescription or order contact lenses may be forgotten.
If you are able to, make time to go shopping during the week. While there are still some crowds, you will find a notable difference and it makes the experience less crazy than weekend shopping. Some people find it more than worth it to take a vacation day to shop during the week, thereby scratching several items off their to-buy list. When you are out shopping and think of suitable gift ideas for someone, make sure you either jot it down on paper or put it into your phone for later reference. I always think I’ll remember an idea—and then, you guessed it – I don’t!
Being organized is a good start to managing anxiety and stress during the holidays. Other things to think about are limiting social obligations you may be less than enthused about. It’s okay to bow out once in awhile with the reason that you are overscheduled or simply “have other plans.” Those other plans may include kicking your feet up at home and watching a great movie and that’s just fine. Most people today understand how hectic life is and will understand if you tell them, “I would love to make it, but I’m just overscheduled this year! I hope you have a great time though!”
Think about the traditions or events that truly bring joy to you and let those be your guiding priorities. During the holidays, only some things truly matter and with some reflection you will know what those are.
Wishing you a season with all that you wish for!