Both fall and winter bring much anticipation and energy around various holidays. So many of us find ourselves busy with endless tasks of decorating, cooking, baking, events, gift wrapping, sending cards, parties...the list is endless. Much of these activities are happening right in the middle of the busy life that you already have!
Wondering if it's possible to feel less stressful during the Holidaze? With proper planning and time-management strategies, you can create your ideal holiday season. Below are five steps to help you enjoy the Season of Seasons.
Step 1: Create a Vision.
Find a quiet time to imagine an ideal holiday season. Think about each holiday that you celebrate during this time and develop a vision for each of them.
Think about what appeals to you and what doesn't. Ask yourself "What are my goals? What is important to me?" Do you want to increase time spent with your family? To spend time with close friends? To participate in holiday / religious activities?
Step 2: Make a list.
Now set your Time Timer for 5 minutes and make a list of all of the tasks and events that you want to accomplish for each holiday. Using a timer will decrease the likelihood of becoming overwhelmed with too many details. When adding items to your list, ask yourself "Is it manageable? Does it support my vision / goals?"
Step 3: Use a calendar.
Now get out your calendar. You can use either a paper or a digital planner, whichever best fits your lifestyle. Place events and activities on your calendar from your list, work / school calendars, religious organizations, Evites, emails, etc. Remember, only add items to your calendar that are important to you, and that align with your vision for the holiday. It's also helpful to color code your calendar either by holiday, family member, or work / personal / school. Don't forget to schedule a time for tasks such as baking, decorating, gift wrapping, and even un-decorating! Using a calendar creates a timeline and makes your schedule visible for you and your family.
Step 4: Create a system.
As you go through the various tasks and events of your holiday season, create a system for keeping track of necessary information so that you will have access to them each year. Consider using a binder, a program such as OneNote or Google Drive, or a tub / basket with folders to organize your items. Label your system for information such as decorating ideas, party themes, guest lists, addresses, favorite recipes, etc. You may even want to take pictures of your decorations and holiday storage items and add them to your system. Creating a system will save you valuable time during the next Holidaze.
Step 5: De-stress.
Whether or not you follow the first 4 steps, finding time to de-stress will be the most important thing that you do for yourself and others around you. Between the endless cooking, spending too much money, and over-committing, you will need regular intervals of time to de-stress. Whenever you feel anxious, stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed, try a few of these strategies to get centered and refocused on your goals.
- Deep breathing exercises
- Meditation (even if it's just for 2 minutes)
- Gratitude journal
- Regular movement / exercise
- Seek and accept support. Delegate tasks and ask your family to share in responsibilities. Enlist help from friends or even hire help for cleaning, cooking, and professional organizing!
- Say "Yes" to saying no. Give yourself permission to say no to obligations and traditions that do not support your vision.
However you plan to celebrate this holiday season, intentional planning can help fulfill your vision of the ideal holiday season.
Guest piece, written by Tiffany Blassingame
Tiffany Blassingame is the owner of Simple Organization, LLC. Simple Organization offers you the opportunity to live a practical, simplified lifestyle by providing space planning and strategies to increase productivity for students, busy families, freelancers / small business owners, and persons consumed with life circumstances. As an educator for more than 15 years, Tiffany has extensive experience in supporting students, parents, teachers, and administrators in developing and utilizing time management and organizational skills. Tiffany is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) as well as a member of the Georgia NAPO Chapter and a student organizer with The Organizing Tutor.