Home for the Holidays
November marks the beginning of the Holidays; a truly wonderful time of year full of tradition, gatherings, food, gifts, laughter, joy, and celebration.
But the holidays can also bring a bit of something else.
Our normal day-to-day interactions with family and friends, as well as our schedule of events, have suddenly increased four-fold and that in itself can be chaotic. Sprinkle in the desperate need to make sure every moment of the next two months is perfect and you have the standard definition of Holiday Chaos.
Having a plan can help keep your mind clear and now is the perfect time to start planning not only your your schedule of events but managing stress, increasing joy, and finding peaceful moments.
Create a List
Make a list of the events and activities that you participate in every year, a well as new events for this year. This list should be as inclusive as you can make it; from the cookies that need baking, to the Christmas lights to be hung, all the way up to the large holiday gatherings.
Big or small, put it on the list. (I love Todoist for this but pen and paper work just as well!)
Decide How You Will Participate
Rate your involvement for every item on the list. Use a simple, three part scale to identify:
- which items require you to simply show up
- which items require a contribution
- which items require your undivided attention
Ask yourself, “which activities bring me joy?”
If you didn’t mark the item as a joyful activity and you don’t have a very, very good reason for doing it, cross it off the list. Setting boundaries will be your best holiday planning friend!
Simplify the list as much as you can and identify those items that require the most involvement and bring you the most stress. Can you bring them down to a manageable level?
For example: If decorating the outside of your home is a must-do, high-stress, and high-involvement item, ask yourself :
Do I personally need to accomplish this?
Can I hire it out to a local business or neighborhood kid?
Remember that sometimes less is more; bakeries make delicious cookies, interior designers have budget-friendly holiday decorating services, and delegation to friends and family can encourage togetherness.
Finding the Zen
In the end, there may still be a touch of chaos when a dining room table made for four now seats eight (and that’s not including the kiddos seated in the kitchen) so make sure to squeeze in a few moments of downtime.
Create Your Ambiance
Creating a holiday ambience will set the mood, and that mood could very-well be peaceful! Select holiday music, candles and/or essential oils, and lighting that encourages quieter conversation, slower pace, and more focus on the activity at hand.
Finding Peace During Loud Festivities
Having readily accessible snacks, a warm soothing beverage in hand, and/or playing a favorite holiday movie in the background, gives you the opportunity to retreat into a side activity for a moment. Sip your tea, watch your favorite part of the film, or sneak off into the kitchen to refill your plate of nibbles. And don’t underestimate frequent trips to the solitude of the bathroom!
Find Peace in Normalcy
Take the time to carry out your daily chores, walk your dog on the less-crowded park trails, window shop with no agenda… Capture some of that holiday ambiance by yourself so that you never find yourself missing out on the joy the season brings.
Time with Family
Take advantage of the fact that far-away friends and family are in town. Set up your family photo session with grandchildren, nieces, nephews, college friends – and their dogs! – that you don’t see as often as you’d like.