The holidays are upon us and these winter celebrations with their many traditions can also make us feel stressed and downright frazzled. With both the end of the year creeping upon us and the endless to do’s that haunt us, it’s bound to stretch our purses and our sanity. Time and this joyous season will go whizzing by whether we decide to plan or not. I want you to think about it …..

Have you actually been enjoying the cookie exchange?  Have you created the memories you truly desire in the hustle and bustle of your endless to do’s? Do you feel true JOY?

 I personally find that it’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities (the busy tasks) and,  with our best of intentions, time has whizzed right by. You realize that you have not made the memories with your loved ones that you so desperately wanted to make.

We’ve created this ‘Holiday Helper’ list to help to keep the joy in the season!

  1. Schedule in extra self –care

During the chaos of school plays, cocktail parties, and shopping mall sprints we need a little ‘extra’ love and more peace and quiet.  Let’s ensure we get in all the fun, make all the memories and ‘actually’ enjoy ourselves doing it.

Before your schedule fills up, pencil in a few personal hours. Putting that ‘me time’ on your schedule – , going to see the nutcracker with your mom, going to the spa with your bestie, or making an appointment for a massage – ensures that much needed downtime won’t be passed over for more-pressing to do’s.

  1. Bust through procrastination  

Part of controlling your time has to do with keeping procrastination out of the equation. Stop yourself right here if you usually fly by the seat of your pants, choose to be everything to everyone (insert superwoman cape and lack of sleep) instead of putting your needs first. Planning ahead and time-blocking allows us the space to keep aligned with our core values, to help hold agreements with yourself,, and to have a system that includes time for important to-do’s as well as any ”emergencies” that come up.  “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” ~BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

  1.   Enlist help ( delegate, delegate, delegate)

I know, I know, you want to run around to every store, grab the perfect gifts, have the floors you could eat off and make the best robot costume for the school play… but please, trim your to do’s by hiring (or even just asking for) help!  See how you can make a budget that includes money to pay someone to clean even if it is just for the season. Order those yummy cakes from your favorite local bakery. Your sister that doesn’t cook CAN still bring part of the dinner. Your kids can help with the wrapping and labeling cards – no extra special awards are given for perfect wrapping. My holiday help secret – I have my mom do all of the holiday shopping. She loves to shop and I do not – win-win! It is the best thing I have ever done for my sanity.   

  1. Stay away from negative and toxic people

It seems too obvious to say that you should NOT invite the toxic co-worker or the crazy aunt.  If you share your space with people that make you feel less than the amazing person you are, you will regret it.

  1.   Guilt-Free No……Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries

Valuing your time and honoring the agreements with yourself seems so simple in theory.  However, how many parties have we gone to or gifts have we bought because we couldn’t say no or draw the line after we said… “I am done…”? 

  1.   Stick to your routines

Huge changes in your calendar should be reserved for another time. Period.  Honor this time by sticking to your routines and the agreements with yourself – especially those routines that promote self-care and that release tension and stress.

  1.   Cards at another holiday

For the love of all things crazy why not send a holiday card and letter on a different holiday?  Now, I am not a rocket scientist but there are no hard and fast rules on this. At Thanksgiving, send a card and tell people how thankful you are for them.  I personally love it when families use a different holiday for their card because I don’t lose it among the mass of 150 others.

  1.   Be mindful of overspending

Keeping yourself on a budget and planning ahead (to hit all the bargains) will help you so much when it comes to alleviating the financial burden of the holiday season. Taking the time throughout the year to find the perfect gift will save you the stress of last-minute shopping. Can we also talk about how expensive this season can be for families? A no-fail budget is the best solution. Lastly,  communicate with your loved ones about the necessity of gifts.

  1.   Sleep

Sleep is so vital to our overall health and well being.  Give your body a break! Here are some tips for better sleep… calming shower or bath before bed, a warm glass of sleepytime tea, no electronics 30+ minutes before, hello eye mask, some mindful breathing, don’t hit snooze and stick to a night routine.

Ladies….can we agree to keep it super modest and super simple this Holiday season?