The holidays can be a dizzying time. So many commitments, so much expectation. We all expect our holidays to look as perfect as our Pinterest boards but in reality, it sometimes feels like we’re pounding cocktails and Christmas cookies and counting the minutes until December 26th. I try to get my Holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving to at least avoid the shopping malls in December. But crowds seem to be unavoidable and with guests coming to town and company party Yankee Swaps, I always seem to be elbowing through the masses at Target for the last roll of wrapping.
It’s not easy for a controlling perfectionist to unwind especially during the holidays but I have my first week off next week since my Honeymoon and I plan on enjoying it! So here’s some tips for you (and me!) to breathe and reboot before 2014.
SET EXPECTATIONS SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
It’s not going to be a Norman Rockwell painting. Toddlers will cry. Drinks will spill. Cookies will burn. Going into the holidays knowing that no one- not even Mr. Rockwell himself- has a perfect family or grace with beverages or flawless baking timing. In other words, shit happens. Roll with it. And maybe arm yourself with some classic clay-mation holiday movies for the kiddies, Bounty paper towels, and some store bought cookies… just in case.
Yes, your brother-in-law just called your Christmas tree “nice, if you like that fake, dry look” and your mother glared at you judgmentally as you poured your fourth glass of pinot. But why sulk in a corner or start a fight? It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake! Just follow these steps for an on-the-spot meditation.
- Take slow, deep breaths to help you slow your breathing and calm your heart rate.
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your happy place- the beach, your bed, a kiddie pool full of puppies, whatever floats your boat.
- Tense then relax the muscles throughout your body starting with the top of your head down to your pinkie toes.
- Tell yourself positive things to help you feel better, such as “I can handle anything,” “I am a warrior princess,” etc.
SCHEDULE A HAIRCUT, A MANICURE, OR A MASSAGE
Even if it’s just an hour, it’s an hour you are cut off from those nagging emails, phone calls, and your to do list. Completely give in to that moment and try not to think of what you could be doing. This is your time and might come in handy as that happy place during that on-the-spot meditation!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Easier said than done during the season of excess but remember what the Grinch realized…”Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!” Limit those gifts to one gift card per adult and three or four gifts per child. It will take all the pressure off you and they will appreciate them more. And pair down that menu to a few staples or better yet, call the caterer or go out to eat. No one said that Christmas means a giant carcass at the table- (spoken like a true vegetarian!) how about some Christmas chili in the crock-pot?
We, especially we women, try to do everything for everyone and those things tend to double or triple during the holidays. Make sure YOU are penciled in to that schedule. Ten minutes before bed with your favorite glossy magazine or some time in the morning for a quick yoga session. Something just for you before or after you go take care of all of them!
May the peace of the season (Ha!) be with you. And when it’s not, just breathe.