The holiday season is a very demanding and stressful time of year for most people. Moms especially have a lot to deal with. We have to juggle finding and wrapping all the gifts, decorations for the house, making plans with family and friends, and keeping up with any school celebrations which usually require some shopping on our part. Then, we have to deal with all the wonderful and amazing comments from caring and helpful family about how you’re raising your children the right way, and feeding them the right things, and how amazing you look during the holiday gatherings. All this in addition to our regular work and home schedules, and it would make any sane person lose their mind.
Luckily, there are some quick and easy ways to make this whole season more tolerable. It requires a little shift in mindset and just a few minutes each day.
1. Mindset. Ignore the haters. Those oh so helpful and supportive comments about how you’re raising your children, how you look, your relationship status, and life circumstances are all meaningless. The person saying them does not walk in your shoes. You’re an adult. You choose how to live your life so that YOU can be happy, not to please others. Roll your eyes and walk away from those comments. Don’t give them any thought. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
2. Prioritize. Do what’s really important, and chuck the rest. You don’t need to continue traditions that cause unnecessary stress.
This year, I only bought gifts for the children. This has saved me so much time, and I was surprised to find that others liked the idea. If that’s not an option, I suggest doing a game like White Elephant or Secret Santa to help cut down on the amount of gifts you need to purchase. I opt out of work events for this reason.
Also, you don’t need to buy a gift for every person you or your family interacts with. If you really feel you need to give something to all the teachers and family friends, then bake a big batch of something delicious like cookies, wrap them up or put them in dollar store tins, and give those. Doing a big batch at once is another time saving method nd everyone loves to eat so these gifts usually go over well.
Another tip is to think carefully before you commit to anything. Be firm about your limits and know that it’s ok to say no. You don’t need to attend every holiday event, see every family member, or outdo anything from the previous year. If you have kids, they just want to spend time with you so don’t worry about taking them around to all the holiday events. If you’re attending a pot luck, make sure you offer to bring something that is easy to make. Don’t plan or organize an event if you don’t want to. Someone else can do it.
3. Stay healthy. Try your best to maintain any healthy habits. Continue to drink lots of water. Make sure you’re getting your fruits and veggies, even if it means grabbing prepackaged stuff. Get in a few 15 minute workouts at home. Get enough sleep. It’s easy to set these aside to get other things done but staying healthy should be a top priority. If you get sick, how will the rest of the holiday season go? Don’t risk it.
4. Be present. Schedule in some quality time with the people you love. Take your kids to see special Christmas lights. Have some hot cocoa with your partner while watching a funny movie. Start an easy holiday tradition with your family.
5. Breathe. If you feel you’re about to lose it, stop and take a few deep breaths, re-evaluate the situation, and proceed as you wish. I have been known to walk away from annoying family members mid sentence and not attend “required” gatherings to avoid losing my shit. It happens. It’s ok. Take a deep breath and move on.
Do you have any other tips to stay sane during the holidays? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.