Can you believe that December is upon us? How time flies! For many of us, this is the busiest month of the year! We look forward to the holiday season but often it quickly turns from a beautiful season into a list of “to do’s” that seem never ending. Suddenly we are feeling less joy and more dread.
This year I am vowing to NOT let the “to do’s” ruin my holiday and I invite you to do the same. Is it easy to change your mindset? No! Is it worth it? 100% YES!!! I was reminded the other day about how quickly kids grow up, how fast time passes by and what we actually remember (and don’t) of years past. Five years from now, will anyone remember that you had to buy cookies from the bakery? Ummm, no! (Tip-put them on a pretty plate or in a festive tin and no one will ever know.) Next year, will anyone remember that you didn’t get all your lights put up outside this year (or any at all)? That is a big fat NO! Does anyone remember the fun game night you had with the family? (Balderdash, anyone?). Heck Yes! But do they remember you didn’t get a chance to vacuum your floor before they arrived (did anyone even know)? No way! When things start to spin out of control, putting your concerns in perspective can really help to alleviate the stress. It's not the end of the world if you don't get it all done.
Cut your list
Consider cutting your to-do list or at least taking some short cuts to help minimize stress. Ask yourself if that item on your list is imperative. Rate your list items and put the priority at the top, move the remainder below in order of importance. I often find that those bottom items can easily be removed. When looking at your list, decide if perhaps you can shorten the time it takes to do something. Do you really need to put every decoration up? What if you decided to only put half of your items up this year? You could decide to skip a holiday party to allow yourself some downtime or quality time with the family. Maybe you will decide to hire a helping hand to clean the house or order food from a restaurant instead of cooking it all yourself. Whatever it is that you decide, don’t continue to stew or stress over what you “should have” done. Feel good about taking time to acknowledge that your health and mental well being is important. You are worth it!
I know I have been focused on cutting out things but this is one of those “to do’s” that always makes my cut! Nothing makes me feel more festive than helping someone else. That can be as simple as giving someone who needs it a pair of warm socks, helping out at a food bank or homeless shelter or purchasing gifts for a family going through a difficult time. You can even make this a fun family activity. Getting the kids or grandkids involved in making simple decorations and giving them to homebound seniors is such a great activity and I am not sure who will enjoy it more: you, the kids or the seniors. And this is one of those activities that the kids will remember fondly for years to come!
Stop and smell the pine!
This time of year especially it is important to give yourself some grace! When things start spinning out of control, our reaction is to kick it in to double time, push the gas pedal and go, go, go! However I am going to challenge you to hit the brakes instead of the gas. Huh? It is when you start to feel frazzled that you need the break the most! Go against every fiber in your being and STOP! Take a few minutes for yourself. Do something you thoroughly enjoy: put on some Christmas music, take a walk, turn on the Christmas lights, light your favorite holiday candle, whatever you love to do, stop and do it! If you can, close your eyes and just take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself of what Christmas truly means to you. Hold that thought closely to you as you go about the remainder of your day and month!
Sending you warm wishes and thoughts for a happy and healthy holiday season!