5 Easy Ways to Avoid Overwhelm (and stay sane!) This Holiday Season

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

 

Happy Friday!

And greetings from on board AC flight 103 🛩 from YYZ to YVR!

Calgary to visit family last week, Vancouver to attend our annual CAPS convention this week – thank goodness this jetsetter loves flying as much as I do! Although I have to say it’s also taking a toll on my holiday preparations 😳.

I’m diligently trying to write my Christmas cards on the plane 💌 , making lists for two back-to-back parties I’m hosting next weekend, and getting a wee bit stressed about the fact I only have but a few small stocking stuffers so far in the gift 🎁 department. 

I do love this time of year, yet as exciting as it is, it can also get pretty busy and pretty stressy pretty quickly. 

And it’s all too easy to get caught up in feeling the need to decorate à la Martha Stewart, make home-baked goods better than Betty Crocker, or show up at every holiday party perfectly primped in a new frock 👗 like you’re like the biggest socialite on the block (with a bottomless bank account, to boot!)

I don’t know about you, however it makes me a tad anxious just thinking about it!

Isn’t this time of year supposed to be the most peaceful and joyest of all 🤷‍♀?!?

In order to avoid the overwhelm and maximise the merry, here are five tips that might help:

1. Detach From Expectation.

It’s tough not to have some vision in your head of what the holiday season is supposed to look like. You have your family traditions 🛷, your special rituals, your festive 🎄festivities. That being said, don’t be too attached. 

Be okay with going with the flow this year, and being open to however the season unfolds. 

2. Keep it Simple  

So you haven’t been able to get 200 home-made Christmas cards out there yet? It’s okay! Perhaps you send a digital card, a personalized video, or boycott cards altogether (you can blame the postal strike!)

Maybe you opt to buy pre-decorated cookies 🍪  instead of making them yourself. Or you choose to recycle a dress from last year. No one will hate you, promise! (they likely won’t even notice…) 

3. Just Say NO!

You do not have to be invited to all of the fancy 🍾 galas, festive mixers or holiday potlucks. And even if you are, you certainly don’t have to attend them all. Not only will you drive yourself crazy trying to be everywhere at the same time and all things to everyone, chances are you won’t even be present enough to enjoy yourself, anyway!

And with respect to anything additional that’s being asked of you, be honest and get real with yourself. Is it necessary? Is it a priority?

Be okay with saying NO (even if it’s to your family or closet friends!) and start saying YES to yourself and your needs. 

4. Get Clear on Your Priorities

Don’t succumb to the pressure 🤦‍♀ to entertain and decorate better than you see in the magazines or on TV, or to do either at all!

Make a list of your non-negotiables, and be realistic about what’s possible. Who do you really want to connect with this holiday season? What activities will you actually enjoy doing? Schedule who and what’s most important, and look at anything or anyone above and beyond as a bonus. 

5. Take Care of YOU!

Put yourself at the top of the food chain. Seriously though! 

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Enough fresh air. Enough vitamins and greens. 

And then book in some ‘ME TIME.’ Get a massage. Go for a walk. Reserve a spot on your fave couch and curl up with a cup of tea ☕ or a nice book. Get your nails done 💅. Have a bubble bath 🛀.

Choose something that relaxes you, makes your heart smile, that is only for you. It’s NOT overrated. It’s important. And even moreso than ever at this time of year. Even better, schedule weekly ‘me time’ and treat it like a serious appointment.

 

🎶🎵 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” 🎵 🎶  Or at least it could be! So let’s ensure it is, and it stays that way!

If you’re serious about avoiding overwhelm and saying no to competing with Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker, detach from expectation, keep it simple, just say no, get clear on your priorities, and take care of YOU. 

Let me know which of these ideas you’re going to take on!

I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol Schulte

Carol is a published author, has been featured in numerous magazines and podcasts, and is a returning guest expert on Rogers TV. Having lived and worked in 16 countries including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, rocked dreadlocks in Thailand and shaved her head for breast cancer, she certainly walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. When she’s not traveling or speaking on stage, you can find her volunteering as a bereavement facilitator, training for her next triathlon, or practicing her serious carpool karaoke game.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Angie says

    Carol! Thanks for this one!! It was sooooo timely! I read it and then promptly turned down the opportunity to go to my husbands Christmas party. Ahhhhh, you mean I can stay home?!! YES, yes, I can. And nothing bad happens when I do this!

    • Carol says

      Angie! THANK YOU for your thoughtful comment… YES, yes you can indeed say home! And you’re right, nothing bad will happen. Glad you have learned such a valuable lesson. MERRY CHRISTMAS my dear! xo

  2. Michelle Modjo says

    Hello Carol,

    I’m so glad to read your message this morning. I was blaming myself since a few days because I decided not to organize a big Christmas dinner this year as per the last 10 years. Since November I have been receiving many calls from previous attendees to ask about the timings. I was felling so bad of telling them that I was too tired for big dinner this year. Yesterday, I was about to succumb to the pressure but I finaly made it clear that the supper will only between my family and I. Now I can tell that my NO is clear in my head without sel-condemnation. The minimum we could host a Christmas dîner was 18 guess.

    • Carol says

      Michelle, THANK YOU for taking the time to reply with your thoughtful comments, and sharing your story. Learning to say no and set boundaries is not always easy, and yet so important. You are such a giving and generous soul… that will not change. And, you need to also look after yourself. No more blame! Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday season.

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