How are you managing this holiday season so far?  I’ll tell you why I ask.

For many of us, the holidays are a time of great joy. This time of year encourages the best in human nature to shine through. We see family and friends that we may not see any other time of year. We also can experience the joy of giving, be it a gift to family members or time spent helping those in need. I think we can all agree that the overall spirit of the holidays is one that we should all strive to achieve year round!

Unfortunately however, this time of year can also bring hectic schedules and unique pressures, along with stress and chaos, which can upend our otherwise healthy and focused mindsets.

What is it about this time of year that creates stress?

There are many potential triggers hidden amongst the mistletoe and festive music. Scheduling conflicts are a major stressor for all of us, and this is especially true during November and December.

In addition to your regular weekly or monthly schedule, the holiday brings a myriad of other time commitments waiting to be honored. You have to decide which ones you want or need to make a priority. Often, we overschedule ourselves during this time of year, not wanting to offend anyone. So we end up promising our time to every holiday party, volunteer event and children’s play we are invited to, but guess what?

That isn’t always the healthiest choice for you…right? 

It wears you out doesn’t it?  That’s not good! 

Trust me, I’ve had to make changes in my own life.  So I know how it feels.  

So, how can you prioritize and streamline your schedule for a holiday season that everyone can enjoy? 

  1. First, think about which holiday events you and your family most enjoy. Those should get first priority in scheduling.
  2. Next, consider the holiday events and invitations that are important – and why you consider them important? Has your granddaughter asked you to come see her play on the same night that your company party is being held?

I like to use the Ten Year Rule in these cases. In ten years, which choice will you look back and be glad you made? Instead of stressing out, create your holiday schedule based on your intrinsic values. Then, act with confidence. If you must decline an invitation, do so politely. When it’s appropriate, explain the reason you can’t volunteer or attend an event. I’ve had to tell people, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to make it. I’m volunteering that day, and the shelter is counting on me.” In my experience, most people will understand and even respect your decision to prioritize the things close to your heart.

Coordinating holiday schedules with your family can be even trickier. Whose home will host Christmas this year? Which sides of the family will you and/or your children celebrate with, and on which days? This can be the most challenging time of the holidays to finesse, and, sometimes, it’s impossible to avoid conflict. Work with every member of your family to find out what they’re expectations are – and don’t wait until the week before Christmas. Try to remain as flexible as possible – if you can’t be with your grown children on Christmas morning, make sure you demonstrate a willingness to celebrate on a different day. After all, the important thing is that you will all be able to celebrate as a family.

I wish you lots of love, health and happiness as you make your way through this joyful holiday season!

How do you maintain your sanity during the chaos of holiday scheduling?

Do you have a schedule that helps you decide when the holidays are celebrated with different branches of your family? Are there certain events or activities that you always make time for?

Write me and let me know – I’d love to hear from you!