Ahhh, the holidays. Memories to be made with family. Pies to bake. Dinners to cook. Parties to attend. Crowds to maneuver at the malls. Presents to wrap. Illnesses to ward off. Attempts to schedule time to see EVERYone who’s invited you over. Oh, and a business to run.
Are there times when you just want the holidays to be over so you can go back to your typical overwhelm rather than the uber overwhelm you’re facing right now? I agree, although the time I spend with family and friends is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. When you’ve lost a loved one (like I did my dad earlier this year) you realize how fleeting and precious time is. However, that doesn’t make the stress of “just getting through it all” any easier, or frankly any less stressful.
What can you do? Here are some methods I employ:
- Accept the fact that this is what it’s like every year at this time. I know you may want to slap me for pointing out the obvious, but unless you move to a desert island and have no friends or family, holidays will always bring certain levels of overwhelm and you can heighten that if you have extended family that each celebrates at a different time of the day on the same day. Gas up the vehicle and pray for clear roads.
- Plan your shopping for those times when you have the time. Don’t give yourself 15 minutes to shop for 15 people at 15 different stores and think that you’re going to make it happen. If it makes it easier (even though it may add to travel time) break your shopping trips into several trips or plan to spend the entire day (or however long it takes) to finish it all at once. Write a list and check the items off as you go. Shopping without a list means you’ll likely lose track of who you still have to buy for and what they’d even like. I am not a fan of crowds, but know that at this time of year they’re inevitable so I break my shopping into small, manageable trips.
- Talk with friends and family early in the season to come to a consensus on who will host and when and where and what you should bring. Pre-planning is crucial to conquering holiday overwhelm.
- Start a new tradition of getting together the first Saturday after New Year’s for a “welcome in the new year blow out party.” If you move one party out of the way, you will have a) less to fret about and b) something to look forward to in the brand new year.
- Take time for yourself. I know you’re saying, “I don’t have time to do all I have to for others, how the hell can I make time for myself!” It’s not easy but I have learned that self care is crucial. From being a caregiver to my parents to a cancer survivor, I have learned the fine art of saying, “no, I just can’t do that…” and then taking time to relax on the couch with Henrietta, or taking a lunch away from the computer or a soak in a bubble bath. The time you take away from the tasks that are overwhelming you may seem frivolous, but your mind and body will thank you.
What do you do to address the overwhelm you face during the holidays?