Do you often feel overwhelmed, scattered, stressed, and exhausted during the holiday season? It is super common for people, especially parents, to experience these emotions of being spread too thin this time of year. And doesn’t experiencing that stress rob you of some of the joy, laughter, reflection, and love of the season? I think it does.
So how can we stay sane during the holidays? By simplifying. It’s that simple.
Here are my top tips for simplifying your holidays and staying sane:
1. Just say NO (Thank you, NO thank you!)
This time of year, our to-do lists are endless. There are so many events to attend, presents to buy and wrap, preparations for family visiting, last minute shopping, meals to cook, and not to mention the pressure to find the perfect gift for that special someone. There is always more you could do....
I encourage you to allow yourself permission to say no to whatever feels like it’s overloading your plate. You are not Super(wo)man, and you can’t do it all. What do you say to those people who’s requests you can’t oblige? Something along the lines of ‘Thank you for thinking of me, I just can’t take on anything else right now’ goes a long way. Chances are they will completely understand. And by doing this you create time and space to breath and enjoy the season. You also create time for Self Care. See my next blog post for more on self care.
You know all those cookies you need to make for school? And how about the hand-made gifts for teachers, cousins, or friends? The party you’re throwing where you feel the need to make everything from scratch because you’ve always done it that way?
Perhaps it’s time to simplify and ask for help. If those things need to be made from scratch, can you ask friends to help you? Better yet, support your local baker and pick up those pre-baked cookies for your child’s class party. Purchase gifts on Etsy if you like hand-made gifts, and call the caterer for your party. You might spend a little bit more, but is it worth $20 more to experience less stress, and have some extra time for you and your holiday celebrations? I think so. Outsource it!
3. Be Picky & Prioritize
Year after year, we tend to pick up more and more traditions. And before we know it, we are driving all over the continent to visit family and friends for the holidays. So much that the entire season is one big blur. We have countless events or parties to attend every weekend, and we think we have to personally pick up every single gift for every person on our list.
I say it’s time to prioritize and get picky to simplify. Maybe all of the kids in your extended family draw each other’s names for gift giving, so that you’re not buying gifts for all 8 cousins, you are each buying one gift for the name you drew. And you decide that you can’t make all 20 of those holiday parties. You’re going to prioritize for your work party, and the parties of your two closest friends. 3 parties and done. And perhaps this year, you ask your family to meet for one big family celebration, or suggest that they come to you, so you can be home for once. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first. In fact, sometimes it’s the most ‘right’ thing you can do.
4. Let Go
Let go of doing it all. Let go of being everything to everyone. It is a game you will never win, trust me! Let go of needing to have the perfect holiday, with the perfect tree, gifts, bows, meals, mistletoe, etc. Do your best and let the rest of it go. When it's challenging to let things go, remind yourself that the most important part of this season is that you get quality time with your loved ones to celebrate. Let go of all the expectations. Keep it simple, enjoy your sanity, and this beautiful holiday season!