How will you maintain your holiday joy?

Cindy JobsUncategorized

There is a reason we call it the “Christmas rush.”  Because that is what we seem to do  . . . rush, rush, rush!

How do we get back to the true joy of the holidays?  Here are a few quick tips:

Do a mental brain dump right now.

My guess is that there are what feels like a million “to dos” bouncing around in your head right now (I refer to it as pinball brain) it’s hard to keep them all straight.  Right now, pull out a pencil and a piece of paper and do a brain dump.  Nothing fancy, just a quick list of all those things that are bouncing around in that noggin of yours.  If possible, put a due date next to the item.  This will help you prioritize your next steps.

Say “no, thank you.”
This is one of the most powerful things you can do right now to help maintain sanity.  We are inclined to say “yes” so as to not hurt people’s feelings.  This time of year, however, there are so many additional demands on our time.  Saying “yes” to something that is not essential takes time away from those things that are.

Manage expectations

“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed.”  —Terrell Owens

What is your reality?  Do you know what your family and friends expect of the holidays?  What is no longer important?  What situations have changed that support changes to holiday traditions?

Just because it’s been done before, doesn’t mean it needs to be done this year.

Schedule time on your calendar

I’m super-serious about this one.  It’s important to actually block out time on the calendar to get things done.  We can’t just manufacture more time, so if we don’t save time for the really important stuff, the time will just slip away, resulting in things not getting done or getting done at less-than-optimal times (like the middle of the night).

Use a time-blocking technique to be efficient.  What?

  • Group all your errands together. If you are already out of the house, take advantage of that time.
  • Do all the gift wrapping in one sitting. There will only be one paper/tape/gift card mess and you will have all the tools you need at hand.
  • If you are planning on making several batches of cookies, set aside a block of time and get it all one on one day. Again, one mess.

Enlist support

We don’t need to do everything ourselves (seriously, we don’t)!  I find people are willing to help if asked.  What can other’s help with:

  • Shopping
  • Gift-wrapping
  • House cleaning
  • Errands
  • Reciprocal child care


There is so much going on right now that there are bound to be some fly-bys.  Reduce the opportunity by over-communicating with you calendar stakeholders.  Does everyone know about the party on Saturday night (time, location, suggested dress code, etc.)?  When are the kids’ school programs?  When are the family portraits scheduled for (date, time, location, attire theme, etc.)?  What is the impact of an adjusted school schedule (who’s on pick-up duty, need extra daycare, are teacher’s gifts anticipated, etc.)

I’ve not seen a down-side of over-communicating, but a big downside of under-communicating.

Plan self-care time.

Now more than ever we need to take care of ourselves.  How?

  • Take a walk.
  • Schedule meditation time.
  • Have coffee with a friend.
  • Get appropriate sleep.
  • Take a bath
  • Do nothing.

Remember, this is supposed to be a time of love and joy.  Give yourself the gift of less stress.

Looking for more?  The Mayo Clinic has some great thoughts on reducing holiday stress.

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

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