Finding Balance During the Holidays (and Every Day)!

Finding Balance During the Holidays (and Every Day)!

Finding Balance During the Holidays and Every Day

The most wonderful time of the year is also the most stressful for lots of people struggling to fit in increased end-of-the-year workloads, holiday parties, shopping, guest hosting, travel, and seeing friends and relatives who you’d (let’s be honest) otherwise avoid. 

Luckily, the same coping mechanisms that can help relieve stress and find better balance during the year also work for the holidays.

Here are five tips to finding work-life balance during the holidays and every day.

  1. Make yourself a priority!

That’s right!  When life gets busy, it’s easy to put our own needs at the bottom of the to do list and skip doing the things that make us feel better.  Make your workouts a “must do” item on your schedule.  Remember that old advice - “secure your own oxygen mask before others”??  When we take the hour a day to do something for ourselves, the better equipped we are to take care of those around us.  You need to take care of YOU!!   

  1. Know and avoid your stressors.

If cooking for a large group, baking cookies, or Christmas shopping are your key stressors, don’t do them. Last year I boycotted sending Christmas Cards - they cause me a tremendous amount of stress and I just decided that I needed to eliminate that.  After I got over the guilt trip from my mom and made a public social media post about my boycott, I felt a tremendous amount of relief.  Stop trying to live up to someone else’s expectation of the holidays and stay merry by outsourcing or eliminating the pain points.


2. Get flexible and creative with your schedule.

If you normally commute an hour each way to work, see if your boss will let you work from home to save time, get more done, and reduce your stress. Shop online while relaxing at home and avoid finding time to go to the mall.  Set up carpools for kids and ask for help when you need it.  (Martyrdom is so not cool!) Don’t skip your workout - move it early in the morning if you have to.  Remember - you need to take care of YOU!  

3. Make your own list and check it twice.

Make a giant, end-all, be-all to-do list for yourself, for both work and life, then divide it up into categories like “must do,” “want to do,” and “feel obligated to do.” If you can eliminate any (or all!) of your obligatory list, the rest of your to-dos will start to look a lot easier.

Once you have your lists in order, it’s time to start crossing things off. In between your must-dos tasks, include a want-to-do task to break things up and re-energize yourself. Yes, the holidays are a time to give back to others and be selfless, but there’s still a bit of “self” in selflessness, isn’t there?

4. If you start to feel a cold coming on, come to a full and complete stop.

It’s easy to get run down when we are busy.  The best way to stop a cold from exploding into a weeks-long saga of sickness is to stop it at the start. Unless a task or activity is an absolute necessity, cancel your plans, put away your to-do lists, and settle in for a long winter’s nap. A day of rest (or several) is the only thing you NEED to do right now. Feel badly about canceling on friends and family? You’re doing them a favor. Once people hear that you’re sick, they’ll be glad you stayed away — they don’t want to come down with a cold during the holidays any more than you do!

People report feeling less stressed about the holidays when they stop expecting so much from themselves, because nobody puts so much expectation on us as we do to ourselves. If we stop focusing on what we feel like we’re obligated to do, and start focusing on what we want and need to do, the load gets lighter and the holidays get a lot more merry.

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