Every year around mid-December, a flurry of articles on “Holiday Survival” and “Avoid Overdoing it During the Holidays” and the ever popular “How Keep Your Sh!t Together When Drunk Uncle Jerry Starts Talking About Your Ugly Duckling Phase at Christmas Dinner…Again” hit the interwebs, news stands and magazine covers.
You browse a few headlines and take a mental note that this week you really do plan to take a walk after dinner and learn to say “no.”
But wouldn’t it be better for your general health and wellness if you employed these strategies year-round? After all, practice makes perfect.
Know Your Limits
This is true on so many levels from the number of last minute tasks you agree to take on to the consumption of Jingle Juice cocktails. Keep yourself feeling sound of mind and body by knowing your limits and stick to it. Taking on too much in a day can leave you feeling spread thin and unable to really focus on the tasks that matter, regardless of the time of year. So can that one last round.
Exercise. Just Dooo It Already.
Seriously, do some exercise. Not tomorrow. Today. It doesn’t have to be some big to-do that involves navigating to the nearest CrossFit location and slogging through rounds and rounds of burpees and air squats. Unless that’s your thing (go for it! you’re my hero). Think of exercise like brushing your teeth. It should be part of your daily routine knowing you really stink without it, whether it’s taking a quick walk after lunch or following along with a sweet fitness app. You’ll be more focused, sleep better and feel pretty darn good.
As a new mom, I make an effort to be in the moment no matter what the task. It’s so easy to start thinking of the grocery list during yoga, my kiddo’s supply of diapers while I’m working on web content or the worst…email or Facebook while I’m rocking our daughter to sleep. Ugh, how awful to wake up one day and realize that I missed those precious moments because I found myself sucked into yet another BuzzFeed quiz?! No way. Instead, be present in what you’re doing so you can give the current activity the attention it deserves. You’ll find that the unpleasant tasks will take less time and the fun activities are more enjoyable when you give it 100%.
Set Your (Holiday) Schedule
This is critical, especially for the small business owners out there. How many times have you caught yourself just taking a quick look at work email that you’re really not going to read until you see that one message from BEST client and suddenly you’ve read it and now it’s been two hours…holy crap I need to go to bed like an hour ago and I still haven’t wrapped presents. Been there? Yeah, it happens a lot if you don’t set boundaries on your time. Want to enjoy being at home after 6pm? Hoping to take three extra days off around the holidays? Ok then, make the commitment to your time away and communicate with your customers about your Out Of Office time and the game plan in case of an emergency. Clients understand that you want to enjoy time off not only during the holidays, but that you also deserve your own regular free time after all the awesome work you do. And those pesky notifications? Turn them off. Instead check your email at dedicated times that you set aside specifically for work.
You can do this. Accept help when it makes sense but maybe not when your well-intentioned but way too hip niece Maddie suggests helping you shop for drop-crotch pants (no. just, nooo). Throwing a holiday party and someone offers to bring an appetizer? Drop the control freak nature and say, “wonderful, thanks!” An officemate suggests handling this year’s Christmas card? Seems like a great time to delegate. Unless the Xmas card is your thing, then go ahead, do your thing.
Is Thanksgiving the only time you’ve counted your blessings this year? It’s easy to lose sight of the things you’re grateful for when life gets hectic, holidays or no. Being grateful not only amps up your own warm fuzzies, but it also increases happiness and motivation in those to whom you’ve expressed your thanks. If you can’t say it in person make the snappy effort to send a, quick note email or text to people who deserve your gratitude. If you’ve received excellent customer service somewhere, share your appreciation via online review. And take a few moments to embrace the things that you’re most grateful for in life and you’ll find your mood elevated and your stress lessened.