Do you find yourself so busy in the days leading up to Christmas, that before you know it, the day comes and goes, and you didn’t get to enjoy the holidays?
This year is going to be different, because I’m sharing three tips to help you slow down and enjoy the holidays.
How to Beat Holiday Stress
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Create Your Signature Style
This practice eliminates decision fatigue and frees you to spend your time and energy on what matters most; enjoying the holiday season. A couple of easy ways to create your signature style are:
- pick one wrapping paper for all your gifts. I use brown or white butcher paper and/or craft bags depending on the size and shape of the gift. Then, use ribbon, stickers, paint, free-hand drawing, or stencils to embellish the gift wrap.
- have a uniform – A uniform is a handful of wardrobe basics that work together to create several mix and match outfits you look and feel good wearing. Get Your Pretty On is my favorite (and affordable) resource for creating uniforms. Use my affiliate link to browse the Seasonal Style Challenges. The 2019 Winter Style Challenge will be available on Friday, November 29th.
Break the Busy Mindset
One year, as we prepared to celebrate our wedding anniversary, Matt’s birthday, and Christmas, all in one week, I realized this truth; busy is just a state of mind. After that realization, I decided to focus on one thing at a time, to truly be in the moment, because it’s not going to happen again. Here are some simple ways to shift the busy mindset.
- practice mindful gift giving – Marketers would have you believe that holiday shopping is a race or something you need to catch up on. They want you to succumb to the “Early Bird” and “Last-Minute” labels and Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, so you’ll spend your money. The truth is, buying a gift to check off a list becomes clutter for the recipient as well as time and money you can’t get back. But, you’re savvy. You know that as long as you have what you need by the time you need it, you’re right on time.
- make your list and check it twice – You know how you write a to-do list on Monday, and by Friday when you haven’t quite managed to do it all, you find super powers that enable you to magically prioritize that list down to two or three must do items? Do that for Christmas. Let it go – you don’t have to send cards, bake three desserts for Christmas dinner, get all new holiday decor or buy all the gifts. Make your list according to what matters to you most, even if it means scratching a few things off it because you’d rather be intentional than busy.
- beat procrastination – In the words of author Brian Tracy, “eat that frog,” meaning, do the thing, whatever the to-do is, at the start of your day. And, in my words, if it’s a big project, break it down into manageable tasks over time.
Press Pause on the Performance
Between being the “hostess with the mostess,” to keeping up with all the family traditions, to having an Insta-worthy tree, there’s a lot of pressure to perform during the holidays. Let’s reduce that performance anxiety with a few of my surefire tips.
- ask for help – You do not have to do it all. When you let someone help, not only are you freeing yourself, you are giving someone work. So, please delegate. Hire a cleaning lady. Let someone else hang the lights. Make a tradition of having the whole family participate in decorating the house. Order your groceries online. Then, go forth in peace.
- have a designated wrapping station – Wrapping gifts seems to be that last little to-do that escapes you until you find yourself wrapping the gift in the car on the way to the party. (I’ve been there many times.) Avoid the stress by keeping all your wrapping materials in one easily accessible place. Then, set a date on your calendar for wrapping. Make it fun by pouring your favorite beverage and adding a little background music. Get lost in the scene; thinking of each person and recalling fond memories as you wrap their gift, expressing your creativity with bow making and ribbon tying or learning a new skill like making our own gift bags. (I was so proud of myself when I did that the first time.)
- if you’re entertaining – Remember, it’s about hospitality, in other words, how you make your guests feel, not what the house looks like. So, pat yourself on the back. You did the hardest part by opening your home to someone.
Lastly, remember to breathe. Literally. Pause every now and then to take a few deep breaths. It’s like pressing the reset button on your nervous system.
Ultimately, doing these things is an act of grace and love for you, allowing you to bask in the wonder and delight the holiday season. I can’t think of a better gift to give yourself.