Are you feeling happy and relaxed this holiday season? I coach people to tackle the holidays like any other project or workflow. The foundation is the same. I work with clients on creating a critical Path Timeline for their business and you can do the same for all the holiday tasks.
You might initially resist the structure at first thinking that it will take the “fun” out of the festivities. But remember just as in business, for the holiday projects – “Structure Gives You Freedom When Set Up Correctly”.
Here are some quick reminders to make your holidays less frantic and stressful:
Plan Ahead – This tip seems really obvious but so many still don’t take a few minutes to just map out their holiday. This simple step will save hours of time from running out for last minute hostess gifts or an additional set of guest towels.
Turn off all distractions and sit down and plan out your holiday in the following areas:
• Food Shopping & Menus
• Events You Will Attend
• Gifts Lists
• Housewares/Linens You May Need to Replace
• Event Attire You Need
• Greeting Cards
• Map of Timeline of the Actual Holiday Event
Mise en place – a French phrase which means “everything in place”. This phrase was used everyday in my culinary training meaning to clean, chop, measure, set-up, stage, and prep everything you possibly could before hand (before the event, the meal, the out-of-town guests arrive). Taking this mindset not only to cooking, but to all holiday tasks and all life tasks for that matter.
Hire Help – If you don’t already (and you should!) hire or barter for help just this once for this busy time of year. Agencies have help available for one-time cleaning, home repairs, gardening and even administrative help to get those greeting cards out for you. Trust me, this will be the best gift you ever give yourself!
Delegate – Enlist your family and friends to help with the extra chores and tasks that revolve around the holidays. Don’t feel like you are failing as “Super Woman” if you take them up on their offer of help. YOU don’t have to do it all!
Consider Letting Go of Some Traditions – Think about each tradition and if you truly enjoy it rather than just going through the motions. Do you really want to spend one to three days decorating your house and then another one to three days putting everything away? And, really think… who would actually even care if I stopped doing this? Where can you scale back? What traditions are worth keeping? What new traditions can you create that bring just as much joy but in less time?
Let Go Of Perfection – Similar of letting go of traditions in the tip above, but this one is a little different. Letting go of perfection means that for the traditions that you are keeping, you scale them back a little to make it easier on yourself. So, for example, if you’ve always had exquisitely wrapped packages maybe this year you just go the tissue paper and gift bag route. If you always cook an amazing five-course meal for your holiday party maybe this year it is just one signature cocktail and appetizers.
Let Go Of the Guilt – Probably only 20% of the holiday events you are invited to you will truly enjoy. Make a promise to yourself that you will only attend the events that you love and look forward to without the guilt. If you’d prefer to go skiing, to Maui or spend more time with your family rather than go to that ‘party’ with those you hardly know, do what your heart tells you. Go for the things you love, that bring you the most joy.
Begin With An End In Mind – One of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People. But, I am using this habit to demonstrate the importance of thinking about how you would like this holiday season to be remembered years from now. Envision how you would like the memories to be. Do you want memories of rushing around town, frantic last-minute tasks, stress, obligations, and over-consumption? Or memories of calm, relaxed, reflection and heartwarming traditions and actual fun times – whatever your definition of fun is.
What has been your biggest challenge? How have you tackled ‘celebrating’ and not just ‘doing’ and ‘stressing’?
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photo credits: happy smiling cat by Yumi Kimura,
photo credits: christmas cracker table by Speculum Mundi,
photo credits: calendar book by Judy,
photo credits: West Beach Sand Island by Forest and Kim Starr,
photo credits: festival of lights by William Cho
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