I’ve had my share of holiday breakdowns, buckling under the stress. Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about managing that stress and I’m hoping the tips that I share today will help you too.
I’m that person, you know, the one that starts listening to Christmas music every single day after Thanksgiving. The one that hums Andy William’s “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” incessantly, as I pull the boxes of decorations from the closet. Don’t let it fool you, I’m a bundle of nerves under all that holiday cheer. But I have learned some positive habits to prevent festivity burn out.
Maintaining your sanity while you maneuver through crowds, monitor spending, and plan the menu isn’t that simple. This is especially true when your brain is trying to do it all at once. Here are a few ideas to relieve the inevitable stress and actually enjoy the holidays this year.
Decompress by staying unplugged. Different social media platforms offer up much needed information like tutorials and recipes, but sometimes they can also be a huge distraction. Even television shows that are meant to inspire us can sometimes cause us to question why things in our life didn’t turn around in 90 minutes, like the characters. So getting unplugged for even a couple of hours gives our mind a break.
Enjoy the digital silence by taking the kids to look at Christmas lights, the library or the museum. Being in the moment with them creates far more positive memories and allows your mind to take a mini vacation from the holiday planning. Plus, you will have a much more level starting point when you return to your calendar & lists.
Make the “to do’s” fun! You can knock out so many of these “to dos” from your list while enjoying them at the same time. If you read Choosing Our Tree from the Christmas Tree Farm, it’s the perfect example of this. Can you imagine how many memories were created that day?
Not all tasks have to be boring. Sometimes we have to jazz chores up to get our kids to do them, right? Well, adults are no different. We have to make our own fun, just like we teach our kids.
My husband is Peter Pan at heart, so bringing him shopping is as distracting as my two kids combined sometimes. Here’s a tip to keep them all busy: delegate part of the grocery shopping list, but call it a “scavenger hunt.” So if they get done with their list first, they win. Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?
Here are a few more ideas to get you going:
- Do your gift shopping while having a girl’s day out with friends.
- Host a wrapping party with friends.
- Participate in a cookie exchange.
Efficient & effective organization systems. I know it doesn’t sound as fun as my last tip, but it does make a difference. Having everything organized makes it easier when it comes to holiday planning & clean up.
One of the most helpful tips I’ve read came from Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Keeping similar items together gives you the ability to really take stock of what you have.
All my wrapping essentials are stored in one area. I use an oversized box to house my wrapping paper, and keep the rest of the essentials in a plastic bin like the one pictured above. You can even use old mason jars to hold bows, tape and other small items. If I ever run low on something I make sure to add it to my shopping list, preventing any last minute runs to the store.
The same goes with my kitchen. At the beginning of November, I start looking through my pantry & cupboards. I do a good clean out to make sure I toss anything expired or questionable. This serves a couple of purposes. Not only have I prepared my kitchen for incoming guest, I’ve also taken inventory of the items I need to restock. By doing this earlier in the month, I’m not scrambling and adding more stress. We’ll just call this a preventative measure on my sanity.
Make sure you gather all the recipes you’ve saved on Pinterest and start building a recipe binder. I do this for two main reasons: (1) I can be absent-minded sometimes and will completely forget about that amazing recipe that I just had to try this year. (2) I’d rather get my binder dirty than my laptop or tablet. Yes, my husband teases me about how messy my kitchen skills are.
Overall, getting prepared ahead of time saves you a whole lot of headaches later.
Give. Whether you volunteer your time or money, this is always a great way to find your center. Taking your eyes off yourself often calms your soul, and provides a whole different view.
This has become a tradition in our house, and it truly brings us together. We’ve randomly left gift cards for strangers, sponsored a family’s holiday meal, and paid down student lunch accounts. Every year it’s different, but that feeling of peace never changes. Out of all the tips, this one truly teaches me how to enjoy the holidays.
You see? There are lots of things you can do to truly enjoy the holidays and still maintain your sanity!