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Stress-Less During the Holidays

First off, I hope you had a very fun and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Besides eating too much, this can also create a ‘lull’ in our motivation and momentum for getting tasks done. I find after having time off, I look forward to the next one; Christmas seems to refocus my attention to decorating and buying gifts. I look forward to celebrating and finding time off to be able to do so. Keeping the focus on work becomes challenging.

Part of the challenge is being bombarded with getting ready for the Christmas holidays – social media doesn’t help at all, plus having those close to us discussing their holiday preparations certainly can keep the focus on all that needs to be done. This time of year increases stress levels in the majority of Americans with all of these preparations, not to mention worry about how all of them will get paid for. Plus, most people worry about having time off – will they get the day(s) off to spend time with family and friends. It’s enough to take the merry out of the Christmas season.

BUT – it doesn’t have to be this way. Preparing and planning can help you to sail through the holidays singing Jingle Bells! Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • make a list of all that needs to be done in the next few weeks – gifts to buy, food to prepare and shop for, cleaning tasks, parties or after-school functions for the kids, wrapping gifts, decorating the house, paying bills, to name a few. Knowing what needs to be done helps to move to the next step:
  • planning a daily/weekly task list will keep you in control of tasks needing done and exactly when they need to be accomplished; list any help you can think of or tasks you can bundle together to ease your stress. For instance, as I grocery shop now, I’ve been buying some items that I’ll need for my Christmas Eve dinner so that when the day comes, all I need to do is cook :)! For wrapping gifts, consider a service that does it, such as the Boy Scouts or other charitable organization; now only will you get your task done, you will also be helping out a worthy cause (what better feeling than that).
  • schedule time each day to work on a task, whether or not it is 15 minutes in the morning or after the kids go to bed. This will keep you on track and feeling accomplished. Write this in your planner, calendar, or on your phone; use reminders that will alert you that it’s time to get to work.
  • reframe your thoughts: stay focused on positive thoughts, and the ‘reason for the season’ as opposed to what you fear (money, time, work-family conflicts, etc.). Committing to staying positive about the end-result – that everything will be fine – will have you dealing with any pressure or ‘blips’ that may occur. The only person who is putting pressure on yourself is you, so be easy. Use an affirmation or a holiday song that you sing/say during stressful times, as these will release happy chemicals in your brain and become a relaxer. The more you do, the happier you will feel

December is coming, and so are the holidays and all it brings. Right around the corner is the new year, which will be here before we know it. Don’t wait until you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle – take time now to plan and be prepared. You will get through this time one way or another – choose to do so in your way and time. Let the holiday season begin! (

(P.S. I’ll be sharing more tips to get you through the season merrily and be prepared for success in 2017, so stay tuned!)

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