Say no. Don’t accept every invitation. Give yourself permission to say no to cookie and card exchanges, simple cocktail parties, or anything else you suspect might be too taxing on your time and health.
Procrastinate. Whatever the time of year the holidays begin for you, you’ll likely find yourself with double the number of things to cross off your to-do list, and that can create overwhelming pressure that can easily make you feel so paralyzed that nothing gets done. Most likely, some of those tasks can wait until after the holidays. So procrastinate where you can. It’s okay. They’ll still be there when everyone goes home.
Make realistic lists. Don’t fall into the trap of making a general list that puts every task at equal urgency. Sure, things need to be done, but they don’t all carry equal importance, and some of them can wait until others are completed. Consider making a color-coded chart where you can assign importance by color, and move tasks around as you complete some to make room for others. Another option is to utilize a free, web-based project manager like Trello, where you can even invite friends and family and assign some tasks to them.
Stop comparing. We all have that friend, the one with Pinterest boards organized by month and holiday, with all the hand-crafted decorations she’s making for the themed party that everyone will talk about for years. Good for her, really. If that is your goal, then be sure to prioritize it, and make time for the planning and effort that goes into it. However, if you can simply stand back and admire all that effort, but recognize that you and your family will be happier if your time is spent watching the game and stringing Pinterest-unworthy popcorn garlands, then give yourself permission to let it go.
Schedule relaxation. Put it on the calendar and make it a priority. You might be tempted to work through it, making excuses as to what needs doing or how far behind schedule you have fallen. Relaxation is crucial, and if you treat it as such and be respectful of your needs, you will end up refreshed and ready to go at it again.
Schedule exercise, too. Even something as simple as a brisk walk can act as a reset button, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Make it do double duty, if you like, by inviting a friend or family member and enjoying the stimulating conversation.
Let go of perfection. Unless you’re living in a magazine spread, there is no need to maintain perfect order in your home. This is especially true during the holidays, when you most likely have more company and socializing than usual. Stock time-saving cleaning items, such as quick wipes for surfaces, and place baskets around your home to collect stray objects until you have time to put them away.
Give yourself permission. It really can’t be stated too many times. Give yourself permission to drop something from your to-do list and soak in the tub instead. Give yourself permission to buy ready-made cookies rather than baking dozens from scratch while your family watches a movie without you. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays. You and your loved ones will be grateful that you did.
Derek is currently blogging for Allied Signs, a site that helps connect like minded people by using personality tests, astrology, Chinese Zodiac.