It's here! The last holiday season of the decade! For many it's a joyoux time of year - whereas for others, it's the time of year most associated with extra stress. There are more events to attend, more tasks to check off the list and more relationship dynamics to navigate. Somewhere in the middle of all the hussle and bustle, you still have to do your work and despite the expectation that work slows down for the holidays - that's not always the case. Here are some ideas to help you go through the holiday season a little less stressed so you have some time to enjoy all the season has to offer.
If you add a task, delete a task.
All year long people walk around saying how busy they are. Then the holidays arrive, and they magically think they have more bandwidth to get everything done. You either need to get laser like focus and super-ninja productivity skills or find workarounds to the tasks you don’t want to do. How are you supposed to keep the house clean, decorated, host yummy feasts and attend every party? You can’t. Accept this early, make a plan. Find out what energizes you and do that.
Ask for Help.
This can be hard if past experience has taught you that it’s easier to do something yourself. Find the tasks you are okay with letting slide. If you’re asking family who generally doesn’t like to participate, ask as a part of a larger planning session for the holidays. Be specific, give a timeline and let go of the how and the when, without nagging to avoid extra stress. If you can, hire external help for mundane tasks like house cleaning and shopping.
If you want to say no, SAY NO!!
Just because someone invites you to a party, you don’t have to accept the invitation. If you hate baking cookies, it's okay to buy them instead. Heck, it's even okay to serve them right out of the box! Other people's expectations do not have to control your to do list. You’re in charge!!
Go early, or stay late, just not both.
If you have a networking event or any type of party, you don’t have to go for the whole thing, unless you want to, have the energy for it or you’re having an amazing time. You could choose to politely explain to the host that you can’t make it until later in the evening, or that you have another commitment so will have to leave early. Even if that commimtent is to get a good night's sleep so you're not lagging tomorrow. Especially for introverts - or ambiverts (those of us who have a balance of extrovert and introvert) a little party can go a long way. It’s more important to make a limited time effort and protect your stress levels than to go for the entire experience.
Stay away from toxic people.
You’ve successfully managed to stay away from your negative family member who makes digs like, “Do you really need to eat that?” and “Why are you still single, what’s wrong with you?” all year long and now, the joyous time of the year forces you together and it can feel like there is no escape. You may not be able to avoid toxic people entirely and even so, how you react to those triggers is completely within your control. Don’t engage. Shut down the conversation – with things like “YES, I do need to eat that.” A bully doesn’t know how to react when you don’t engage, so don’t engage.
My hope for you is that you absolutely love the last month of the decade. Even though you have lots to do, and there are bound to be things that go wrong, I truly believe with a dose of daily resilience, you do not have to get caught in the stress vortex this season.