It’s that crazy time of year again. With less than a month left until Christmas, the to-do lists are growing by the minute and the holiday chaos is on the rise. There are cookies to bake, cards to be sent out, parties to attend, shopping to be done, trees to be decorated and family to entertain. Sadly, many people find themselves dreading the holidays instead of enjoying them. So just how can you calm the holiday chaos and reclaim the Merry in your Christmas? Here are six practical ways.
Keep your routines
Instead of wrapping your life around Christmas, try wrapping Christmas around your life. Maintain your daily routine so you don’t get off track. Make sure to eat frequent meals, get plenty of sleep, and set a regular bedtime. Be sure to connect with your family members on a daily basis. If a morning jog is part of your routine, don’t neglect that either. Keeping your routines will help you manage stress as the holiday chaos piles up.
Take a break
Sometimes the holidays feel like a giant riptide, sucking us in and churning us out when they end. When we over commit ourselves, the stress starts creeping in. This holiday, reflect on what’s important to you. If someone invites you to yet another holiday party, don’t be afraid to say, “Let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Don’t feel obligated to attend every special event. Only commit to what feels manageable to YOU.
When we become overstressed and overcommitted, we are more prone to making mistakes. If the holiday chaos becomes too much, take a break and slow the train down. Put on some relaxing music. Make a nice hot cup of tea. Take the dog for a walk. When we take a break and slow down, we are able to be more flexible, relaxed, creative and focused. Overall, we make better decisions.
Identify and manage your triggers
Just like a small child who gets cranky when he doesn’t eat or sleep, we too can start melting down if we don’t calm the holiday chaos. If you find yourself at your wit’s end, identify your triggers and learn to manage them. Are you hungry? Annoyed? Tired? If so, why? Did you forget to eat? Did you not get enough sleep? Learn what you can and cannot handle. If shopping malls put you over the edge, perhaps some online shopping is in order. Managing the things that cause you to melt down will help tame the holiday chaos.
Call for a Time Out
Just like kids, we adults need time outs too. A simple trick? Say yes to what you can handle and no to what you cannot. Saying no is an easy way to give yourself a much needed time out. Take the time to practice a little self-care and charge your batteries again. You’ll be glad you did.
Control What You Can and Let Go of the Rest
During the holidays, it is easy to get sucked in by perfectionism. We want the tree to look just right, the cookies to turn out perfectly, the kids to behave like angels, the Christmas card photo to charm everyone. Yet perfectionism often leads to disappointment. Try losing the Martha Stewart hat and settle for good enough instead. Control the things you can but allow room for mistakes and other life circumstances. With little ones in your home, it is often impossible to control everything. Someone may get sick at the last minute. A child may have a meltdown at the mall. A must-have Christmas present may not arrive on time. Do the best you can with what you have, but don’t be afraid to loosen your grip on control.
The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to be a whirlwind marathon.This season, don’t just settle for survival. Try practicing these six simple ways to calm the holiday chaos and take back the Merry in your Christmas.
Author: Steve Cuffari For many, Steve Cuffari is the mentor that parents call on to make their parenting style warmer, easier and more affective. He is the founder of inTouch Parenting, a company devoted to helping today's parents calm the chaos, raise emotionally intelligent kids, and nurture families that thrive. read more about Steve Cuffari here...