It's that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us and while joy and wonder are in the air, this time can also be incredibly stressful. Between work, gift shopping, and the increased anxiety and societal pressure that comes with seeing extended family, it's very easy to feel overwhelmed and let things slip through the cracks. Here are just a few tips and tricks to help out with time management during this hectic season:
1. Make a list (then check it twice):
Not only should your list include the obvious, such as gift shopping, work projects, and upcoming events to prepare for, but it should also have time for you and what makes you happy! Spending time with your significant other, time with your kids, or catching up on your favorite shows are all as equally important as your external obligations. By creating a list and laying everything out in front of you, it'll be much easier to balance and center yourself during the holidays.
2. Schedule everything in time:
Don't be afraid to mark up that calendar! Once you have everything laid out in front of you, actually dedicate blocks of time for the different activities. When everything is laid out in front of you, you'll see that it's actually much more manageable than it originally seemed.
3. Stick to your schedule:
This one is a no brainer-- once you have everything laid out, all that's really left to do is for you to follow the schedule. However, if you miss something, don't freak out! Take a breath and simply reschedule it for another time, keeping in mind its level of priority. Things happen, and we're all only human.
4. Do research ahead of time:
In this day and age, we're blessed with our ability to shop online. Scope out prices online for everything from presents to new dishware for holiday dinners-- not only will it help you budget, but you'll be able to wade through the countless options in the comfort of your PJs.
5. Do something for yourself every day:
'Tis the season for burnout, and with the increasingly cold weather, your immune system can really take a hit. Take a bath, light a scented candle, do whatever it is you feel you need to stay sane and healthy.
6. Go offline for a bit:
I know step 4 says to do a bit of online research ahead of time, but if you're really going to buckle down and get some online shopping out of the way, turn off any unnecessary notifications! We live in a world of constant distraction, and the extra stimuli can not only be a time-waster, but it can also stress you out even more.
7. Know when to say no:
With so many holiday events, both professional and personal, don't push yourself to go to them all. The world won't come to an end if you miss a lunch or two, especially if you need to stick to a reasonable schedule.
General Personal Sanity-Saving Strategies During the Holiday Season
- Expect crowds, delays, and newly trained (clueless) workers in stores.
- Expect traffic.
- To minimize driving, cluster your appointments.
- Stay hydrated.
- Limit alcohol since it will be everywhere, and remember it's a depressant.
- Though it may be difficult to fit exercise in, try where you can, and always eat right.
- Avoid the high carbs, sugar, and caffeine late at night. We often eat at later in the day during the holiday season, which can throw off our sleep cycles.
And finally, please remember to breathe. If you find yourself drowning in stress, you can always ask yourself, "will this matter four months from now?" Chances are, the answer is no-- other than that, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!