The holiday season is upon us, and that means family gatherings, cooking, shopping and hosting parties. But oftentimes, in all the frenzy and frivolity, we end up so tired and grumpy that we feel like the Grinch. Here are a few things you can do to keep the “PEACE” in your soul while being the gracious mother/wife/friend/hostess/volunteer that you are.
Practice saying “NO.” This is one of the hardest things for women to do. It is our nature to be all things to all people, to be “superwoman,” while neglecting ourselves. But saying “yes” to too many things actually costs you energy. Make a “Do Not Do” list along with your “To Do” list, and be committed to it, sticking to your priorities. View your “no” as giving someone else the opportunity to say “yes!”
Eliminate the stressors. Simplify your life, don’t over-schedule and be flexible. Send that family letter after the holidays, when others have more time to read it anyway. Eat on paper plates, purchase your sides, or your entire meal for that matter. In a few weeks, your family and friends won’t remember that you scrubbed the floor or spent 12 hours in the kitchen. They will remember your attitude.
Allow some time for yourself. This is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself going during the busyness of the season. Schedule some personal time in every day, even if it is just 15 minutes. Take a walk, exercise, pamper yourself with a pedicure or massage, read a book, or just sit outside in the quiet. Do something that rejuvenates you mentally and physically to avoid exhaustion. You won’t enjoy the season if your energy is drained.
Celebrate the traditions that are most meaningful and bring your family joy, set aside those that exhaust you. Try asking each family member what one tradition they view as sacred and focus on those. If a lavishly decorated home is not important to them, then lighten up! If they don’t want to bake and decorate dozens of cookies for the neighbors, then spend that time doing something that everyone wants to do. Celebrate those special things that bring you closer, and toss the things that are just “ho-hum.”
Express your emotions. If you feel like crying, then let it out! If you are frustrated, then punch a pillow. If you have experienced the death of a loved one during the year and are grieving, know that it is okay to be sad. If you are lonely, then seek out ways to be involved in the community. It is not healthy to hold your emotions in for the sake of appearances, and it will only drain you in the end.
Most of all express your gratitude! Every day, say thanks for at least one thing that you are blessed with. We all have things that make us smile, things that we take for granted. Be grateful for a roof over your head, running water, transportation—things that many others live without. Give thanks for friends and family who love you unconditionally, and tell them how much they mean to you. Then, give thanks to yourself, for all you do for others to inspire them and lift them up, for the mother or wife you are, and for the milestones you have achieved in your career. Treasure yourself for who you are—you deserve it!
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