Taking the Stress

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Taking the Stress

As the holiday season revs up, you feel the time pressures of the days dwindling on the Fall calendar. This should be a time of celebration with family and friends, a time of joy, love and laughter. Instead it often becomes a time of extreme overload.The more you try to make perfect holiday memories for others, the more you stress yourself. You become torn between what you should do and what you have the energy to do. The more you try to make it merry for all, the sadder and more exhausted you feel. You try to maintain all of the family traditions without maintaining your own harmony and balance. The result is a holiday season in which you are doing, doing, doing without being present in the enjoyment of the season. Exhausting, isn’t it?It is time to break the holiday hassles before you breakdown. Take refuge in the following actions to restore harmony to the holidays, your family and your health.1. Have a plan of attack and attack the plan.Take time to plan out your calendar, the various activities of the season and a budget for both time and money. It is helpful to take 15-30 minutes each night to plan for the next day, gathering everything you need to complete your plan, creating your to-do list for the day and determining the order of the tasks to provide the greatest accomplishment with the least amount of hassle, time, gas, traffic, etc.

Always have a list when you go shopping and stick to your list. This will help you stick to your budget.
Prepare for your shopping trips by planning a route and having the coupons, sale flyers, etc. ready to go out the door with you. Be aware of the “specials” as they will destroy your plan and budget.
Organize with file folders or zippered plastic bags, putting items for a specific day in the appropriate holder so it will be pre-sorted each day.
Be realistic regarding how much you think you can do in any single day or trip. By organizing your route or grouping tasks for more effective management of your time and resources, you will have less stress and a greater sense of control.
At the end of the day, review the daily plan, check off the accomplishments, put your feet up in a room by yourself and plan tomorrow.
2. Avoid over-scheduling to protect family time.

There are so many holiday special events that crowd the calendar. Each member of the family has commitments such as choir performances, school plays, business functions, multiple family events and the list goes on and on. Over-scheduling threatens family time. Avoiding excessive commitments can teach lessons of family values and mindful decision-making.

Limit the activities of each family member. Let them prioritize and select the activities relative to the schedule of the whole family.
Maintain regular mealtimes and use it as a time of sharing and thoughts of the season. It is an opportunity to instill family traditions, such as candle lighting, special meals or treats.
Make bedtime special. Read seasonal and traditional stories, recall memories of past holidays, and reinforce the reason for the season.
Have a day or evening each week where there are no scheduled activities. It is a great time to work on projects together, relax or watch a holiday film together.
Turn off the electronics (cell phones, televisions, Ipods, computers, etc.) with the exception of your favorite holiday music to which you can all sing along while you work.
3. Encourage active involvement of all.Holidays provide an occasion to relive holidays past and favorite traditions. Whether making favorite meals, completing craft projects, wrapping presents, making candies and cookies or decorating for the season, the holidays offer chances to spend time together.

Find a way that everyone can participate in the preparation and activities by working together and spending the time together instead working individually in different rooms.
Acknowledge and affirm the intentions and skill level of each participant and toss your need for perfection out the window. The splendor is in the act of having fun while working together.
Encourage handmade gifts from the heart. Enjoy the creative process with good cheer. Teach the value of giving time and talent instead of shopping for gifts.
Keep the intensity of the activities in direct proportion to the skill, attention and coordination levels of the youngest family members.
Share the activities across the generations to create memories for holidays to come while engaging family and friends of all ages.
4. Maximize your energy and efficiency.There are seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute for everyone! Since you can’t get ahead by finding more time, find ways to maximize your use of the time available.

Determine the most productive time of the day (or night) for you and organize yourself to maximize your productive activities during that time.
Let other know you have blocked off that valued time and will not be pleasant if interrupted. Communicate your expectations so others understand why you are keeping the time for yourself.
Stop multi-tasking! Remember the old saying: Haste makes waste. Research is showing that multi-tasking actually makes you busier without necessarily increasing productivity. It may even create more re-work for you.
Stay focused on your goals for the day by following your plan. Ask yourself regularly: “Is what I am doing right now getting me closer to completing my goal?” If not, stop and redirect your activities.
5. Take care of yourself, too!

You know this one: If Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy! And Mama can’t be happy if she is running on overload, without taking time to eat or rest, and ready to drop.

Feed your body, mind and spirit with healthy food at regular mealtimes and relaxation. Monitor your food and drink intake at the various holiday events to feel your best. Get your rest. All-nighters are a college tradition, not a healthy holiday one.
Listen to your body. Those aching legs and back are sending you a message: give me a break, lady! Take a break, as it will reenergize you once you return to the task.
Allow yourself to shave a few things off your own expectations. More than likely, no one else will even know you have scaled back.
Let the family know that you will be taking a quiet bath – without interrupts – and stealing a few minutes of quiet time for yourself at some point each day and that you expect them to respect your quiet time.
Praise yourself for refusing to volunteer or raise your hand to add more to your busy holiday schedule. It is not a failure nor is it a reason for you to inflict guilt on yourself.

Woman, you have just empowered yourself to have a more joyful holiday season! Have a Joyous and Healthy Holiday Season!

If you are ready for your business to explode, your teams to work together and build better relationships, get FREE Success Matters! help now at [web: CreateSuccessStrategies .com] You’ll get useful ideas from expert Sherry Day, “The Success Strategist.” Contact Sherry at Sherry@CreateSuccessStrategies .com or call 313-886-8110.Sherry G. Day, MS has been coaching leaders to maximize their potential for the past 20 years and is the author of “Strategically Transforming Entrepreneurial Potential.” She is President and Chief Learning Officer, Executive Resources-Human Potential Consultants, L.C. For more information, visit web: ExecutiveResourcesHPC .com