Why can it be so challenging to manage the holidays?
As much as I adore the festive spirit that blankets the holiday season, there’s no denying that it can be a bit of a juggling act. Do you find yourself caught in a whirlwind of seasonal chaos, surrounded by a to-do list longer than Santa’s nice list? If so, you’re not alone.
The holidays have this magical way of turning our schedules upside down, with more activities and demands than we can realistically handle. From office and social parties to family gatherings, as well as year-end projects and deadlines, it can feel like we’re trying to fit months worth of activity into a few short weeks.
And don’t forget the shopping or (I’m going this route this year) the making/creating. The stores are busier, people are in a hurry and even though sometimes offering good cheer, they can also suddenly become callous and demanding and yes…seemingly insensitive.
And we have these additional expectations and deadlines that we have to somehow fit in with those of others around us.
Then there’s family. For some the idea of spending hours or days with our extended family members is exciting, but for others it can bring up old memories and wounds and dynamics that you choose to avoid otherwise. And even if everyone gets along, the increase in energy for extended periods of time can be, for sensitives, a lot.
The holidays can just be overwhelming.
It’s already easier for us to get overwhelmed and it takes more down time to regroup, and as things get busier, often our self care time takes a hit…when we need it even more.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the season with more ease:
Prioritize and Simplify
Identify the events and activities that bring you the most joy and fulfillment, and focus on those. You don’t have to say “yes” to every invitation or participate in every holiday tradition. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything the kids or your partner want to do. Sometimes, less is more.
Set Realistic Expectations
Your holiday gathering doesn’t have to rival a Hallmark movie. Embrace imperfections and set realistic expectations for yourself. Not every meal needs to be a culinary masterpiece, and not every decoration needs to be Pinterest-worthy. Give yourself permission to enjoy the season without the pressure of perfection.
In the midst of holiday chaos, don’t forget about the most important person in your life – you! Take time for self-care, whether it’s a quiet moment with a cup of tea, a brisk walk in the crisp winter air, or a cozy night in with a good book. Recharge your batteries so you can approach the festivities with a full energy bucket.
Delegate and Collaborate
You don’t have to be a one-person holiday show. Enlist the help of family and friends to share the responsibilities. Potluck-style gatherings can take the pressure off of hosting, and collaborative efforts often result in more meaningful celebrations.
Plans may change, and that’s okay. Embrace flexibility and go with the flow. The true magic of the holidays lies in the moments spent with loved ones, not the perfection of every detail.
Rethink Gift Giving
Instead of a frenzy of ordering and shopping and finding deals and trying to find everything on everyone’s list, take a moment and think about what gift might really be meaningful for each person. Ignore the consumer-focused messages and pressure and focus on quality, not quantity. Consider making some or all of your gifts. There are no gifts more personal or honoring than those you’ve pondered genuinely and put yourself…your love, into.
Take time out for you, breathe deeply, step back from expectations, enjoy each moment. Make sure to keep your self care solid and listen to your body, check in about your energy level, and do things that make you happy and either calm or energize you. Let go of the things that deplete you.