Ahh, the most wonderful time of year! It seems that before November has even arrived, we are already winding up for the busy holiday season.
Stores have already rolled out the mistletoe and garland, travel arrangements are well underway, and moms everywhere are gearing up for two months of nonstop activity.
Yes, yes, I know! Nonstop activity is a mom’s norm any time of year. Yet, somehow, November seems to bring on higher stress levels as we contend with more traffic, crowded stores, added demands on our time, and all the extra projects that creep onto our plate for one reason or another.
Fear not, mama!
Here are five things you can do to keep your holiday excitement high while minimizing stress.
Quality over Quantity
We all want to please our loved ones during the holidays.
We accept all the offers and agree to every task. We plan to take our kids to every holiday festivity that comes across our Facebook feed and complete every Pinterest project we pinned in the weeks prior.
Stop! Abort mission!
This is the number one thing that will add to that stressed out feeling during the already hectic holiday season.
Be picky about what events you agree to go to, what tasks you agree to help with and what traditions you want to partake in with your children. They truly will be happier doing less, mostly because mom will likely be happier too!
Focus on quality over quantity.
Last minute plans are the enemy of a stress-free holiday season.
Shopping, menu planning, event attendance, and family traditions can all be fun holiday activities if planned and prepared for. When these items are tacked onto an already long and never-ending to-do list, they become stressors.
List all the tasks you have to complete to prepare for the holidays. Make these items an event, put them on your calendar, pick a family member or friend you want to spend time with as you complete the task and then stick to the plan.
Don’t procrastinate in completing these items. You’ll feel good as each task gets crossed off the list and feel your stress levels dissipate.
It is worthwhile to plan for daily items as well. As November arrives and everyone’s schedule gets busier it can help to have dinners mapped out, school snacks prepared and childcare arranged in advance.
Ask for help
Every mom I know is a superwoman!
If anyone can handle doing everything, it’s a mom. However, that doesn’t mean you SHOULD do everything! Help is available and can make a huge difference during the hectic holiday months.
What can you hire out? What can you ask your spouse to step in and take over? Where can a grandparent offer a helping hand? In what ways can you get your children involved?
Don’t get trapped in the “I can do it better myself” mentality. Does it really matter if the presents are wrapped with perfectly crisp edges? Maybe your husband can take over this task and you can get something off your plate. If the crisp edges do matter, you can always hire it out and take your gifts to the mall where they offer gift wrapping services.
Do you really have to be the one to run to the fifth store looking for a very specific toy? Maybe grandma can do it as she’s running her morning errands.
Ask yourself the following questions to reduce stress:
- Does this item really need to be done?
- Is it necessary that I be the one to complete it?
- Who can I ask to help me get this item checked off my to-do list?
Keep your healthy habits
This season is notorious for countless holiday parties loaded with indulgent foods and sugary drinks all while we traverse jam-packed schedules, making it difficult to stick to a workout routine. Unfortunately, this is exactly when our body most needs healthy foods and regular exercise to keep energy levels high and our body healthy.
You should absolutely treat yourself here and there and may need to skip a workout or two as different events come up. The goal is to stick with a healthy routine 80-90% of the time. Numerous studies show vast improvement in overall stress levels with regular exercise. Schedule those workouts into your calendar and stick to them as if they were a meeting with your doctor. Plan out as many meals at home as your schedule allows and prepare items ahead as often as possible in order to reduce stress and keep your family eating healthily.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do is remember what this season is all about. When we lose sight of what’s important and get wrapped up in the endless holiday to-do list, our stress level skyrockets.
If we can remember to focus on the pleasure of spending time with loved ones, expressing gratitude for the blessings in our life, and sharing smiles and feelings of joy with our children, the stresses of the holidays melt away.