Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season is in full swing! Don’t panic! Dr. Jude Miller Burke has some words of wisdom for the busiest time of the year. The following tips are from over 100 business owners, executives and mothers to help you reduce stress and increase well-being during the holiday season:
- Decide with your partner/spouse what your family values are for holiday celebrations. Create a detailed, but flexible, schedule including who is driving children to their different events — and don’t let others’ expectations determine what you do.
- Be aware of others’ expectations for you at work, home, or in the community. Make an active decision to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and have a ‘stop doing’ list. It is not your job alone to ensure the employees are recognized or the family has the best holiday ever.
- Self-made businesswomen organize and delegate. Gift shopping, wrapping, cooking, entertaining all require extra time. Consider buying one item in different colors for employees or the same top in various sizes for sisters. Buy the most difficult presents now and start early to avoid the holiday rush. Check items off a master list and have one of your children help wrap gifts.
- Revisit the schedule with the whole family to ensure everyone knows what the expectations are. Often forgotten tasks include haircuts, party clothing, holiday cards, flowers, hostess gifts, school concerts, and meal planning. Creatively use help from kids, neighbors, and others to accomplish all of your holiday tasks.
- Find small ways to do what YOU enjoy every day. Successful women are assertive, and in spite of guilt, set limits to preserve their energy. If you have three small children at home, it may not be the best year to plan the holiday work gathering. It may be better for you to keep going to your dance class to keep your energy level high.
- Practice mindfulness – be 100 percent wherever you are, work or home, with no interruptions. The holiday season will come and nothing is going to stop it. Worrying about holiday home tasks while at work or vice versa only increases your stress. Breathe deeply and be present wherever you are and this will decrease your stress. And, remember sometimes an “I’m sorry, Johnny is ill and we can’t make it” is all you can do. Take control of what you choose to be stressed about.
- Keep small problems from becoming bigger ones. Problems will inevitably arise and complicate things even further. Communicate well at work with your supervisor and your employees. Irritability and conflict seem to be inherent during these busy months, so try to accept this and using humor to diffuse tension. At home give each child time alone before bedtime to check in on their emotions; this will ward off problems later.
- Reduce stress by creating a holiday budget to live by. Spending money on items you can’t afford significantly increases your stress. You may not be able to save money during the holidays, but you can live beneath your means.
- Have your own holiday support system. Agree with a couple of friends to meet for coffee and discuss how you want to handle holiday expectations. And, then meet to discuss your progress.
- Highly successful women are kind and generous with themselves. Of course, the holidays are never perfect, but give yourself credit for accomplishing a great deal. If possible, schedule a quiet evening in or out with your spouse or the whole family to catch up with one another when this season ends. And have takeout for dinner!
Pick up our December issue of Bella Magazine for more Holiday Survival Tips!