Your guide to keeping calm during one of the most stressful times of the year
Deck the halls with boughs of stress, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la. The holiday season is here!
Holidays look different for all of us, but they usually have one thing in common: Chaos.
And this holiday season being the first one where many are starting to gather again is extra-daunting.
No matter if you’re in the “I’m not seeing anyone” or the “I can’t wait to see everyone” camp, there’s some extra stress in the air mixing with those apple pies.
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to have a stressful holiday season! Here’s how to set yourself up to own your holiday calm.
Create your intention
What do you want to bring into your holiday season?
Ask yourself what you, personally (not your family and kids) want to bring into and get out of your holiday season. Whether it be “quality time with family,” “time to recharge,” or “a bounty of gifts for my kids,” have conviction in your answer.
Repeat your intention as often as possible and use it as you make your plans. Do they fit into your intention for the holidays? Nix the events, activities, and tasks that don’t.
Identify your comfort zone
What is your comfort level this year with gatherings and being around people? How much energy do you have to socialize versus fears you may have about germs?
For some people, social time is as necessary as brushing their teeth. For others, this may be a time to have more quiet. There is no wrong answer. Don’t let others’ comments dissuade you from doing what your spirit tells you it needs. Politely say, “I won’t be able to make it this year.” Saying no to something is actually saying yes to something else – you.
Minimize holiday stress triggers
Make a holiday action plan that minimizes the events, activities and tasks that get cortisol flying through your bloodstream like the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz and maximizes the events, activities and tasks that make you feel calm, centered, uplifted, and whole.
If you love giving gifts but want to skip parties, ship your thoughtful presents to your loved ones and let them know you’re excited to see them in the new year.
If you dislike shopping, buy a bunch of cute items from one of your favorite stores with no one in particular in mind, and let your friends and family choose an item from your gift stash. Or send food treats so there’s even less waste in the world (I love the unique selection at Mouth.com). Maybe you love baking. Make a truckload of pumpkin loaves and tie them with a pretty ribbon for your extended family and friends. Or, in lieu of gift buying, donate to a charity on your loved ones’ behalf.
Prep the kids for holiday events
I know what you’re thinking – but what about the kids, they need to have the best holiday ever! I get that. But they also don’t want to see you curled up in a fetal position with a full bottle of wine in your hands.
Communication is so key, and often we forget to talk to our kids. Explain to them not only how traditions may differ this year, get their ideas on possibly easier solutions. For example, maybe they don’t need to go to the big parties either, maybe they suggest having a movie night watching Elf. Win-win!
If you are going to a party, it will help you enjoy it more and retain your calm to have a conversation with them on the way about what the expectations are for that party. Review what behavior is acceptable, remind them you want to have a good time too and ask them not to add to the chaos. Be clear about the consequences if they do (like, you’ll have to leave).
You’ll be surprised how much kids respond to conversations like this, and with clear rules going in, things are a) less likely to go wrong or b) if they do go wrong you’ll know exactly what you have to do because it was outlined prior.
Use the “What will foster calm?” filter
In every decision you make this holiday season, from what kind of tree to put up, to making versus buying latkes, to what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, to if you’re going to attend a New Year’s party, make it through the lens and filter of, “What will make me feel good?” and “What will foster my calm?”
Be easy on yourself
This is not the year for winning awards for “best-decorated house” or “wackiest elf on the shelf display (unless that’s your jam and if so, do it up!) If you hate cooking but it’s your turn to host, make it a potluck or order a pizza. Really! Who says pizza doesn’t belong on the holidays? Pizza always belongs. People just want to be together. The food is ancillary.
More holiday Chaos to Calm tips
- Share babysitting for parties and shopping trips with neighbors, friends, and family. Paying four teenagers to watch 10 kids is inexpensive for you and helps you enjoy your time more.
- For shopping trips: Share online pickup orders with friends! If you know someone going to a store to pick up an order, or you already are going, offer to help a mama out and enjoy the reciprocation!
- Use every tool at your disposal to take care of yourself. Hydrate. Take the baths. Journal your gratitude. Get sleep. Read a Calm or Gratitude quote from these adorable mini-books.
- Use my gift template to organize who you’re buying for and what. Bonus, next year you’ll know what everyone got!
- “Flex your calm muscle” if shit hits the fan. You’ve got this!
- Use my Chaos to Calm kid wish list template to keep track of everyone’s desires.
The holidays will be here before you know it, and you got this!! If you need any additional support in finding and owning your calm before, during or after the holidays, I can help.
For more tips on how to own your calm, sign up for the Chaos to Calm newsletter.
Reach out, I’m here for you.