Personal Note

My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From your thoughts, you can create greatness.

This is what I need to remind myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create. Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgemental, love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are love.

Friday, December 5, 2014

8 Great Tips To Get You Through The Holidays (With Your Sanity Intact!)

Christmas carols playing overhead in the grocery store and on the radio, tree lots popping up everywhere, holiday favorites on television...

Oh, yes, it's that time again.

Are you ready?

It came up on us quick. I mean, I was just in Florida for summer vacation, for goodness sake! How can this be?!

But it's here, and there's nothing we can do about it, except maybe enjoy it to it's fullest. Whatever your traditions are, there must be something that you do this time of year to celebrate the season. No matter what that something is, it has the sure potential to become overwhelming. As I write this, it's already the 3rd of December, and I feel I'm running behind already. We did take advantage of the unseasonably warm weekend, putting our renovations on hold to decorate the outside of the house, icicle lights and all (a promise my husband has kept for all these years). But skipped buying the tree just yet. Now, I'm nervous that we're waiting too long. We were just at the "Home Improvement Store" on the 1st and there were scarcely any trees there (we like a fir tree which are not grown around us) so we asked if there were going to be any more deliveries. The employee told us there would be...later that day.

We decided it was a bit too early to get one just yet, ours always tend to dry out in our house, but now I am rethinking that strategy a bit. I think getting one closer to the time it was cut and shipped is better. So I convinced Noah to take me back either Thursday or Friday. I don't want a dried out tree. Besides, I want to get it up and in some water to just sit for a day or two to see if the new kitty is going to leave it alone or not. Let's hope so...

Then I feel pressured to get the decorations out and try to make my house feel like a festive holiday home. But we have so much else to get done, namely the bathroom that is sans drywall and down to the insulation and bare studs in some places. The old shower has to come out, plumbing re-routed, drywall on the ceiling and walls, and replace the tub/shower. Then put in new flooring, a new vanity (that we have yet to pick out) and the new toilet (ditto with the picking out). Oh...and put up new wainscot and paint the bathroom. Good thing it's a smaller bathroom.

There's still so much to finish in the kitchen, too, how will I ever get it all done enough to enjoy the holidays? I fear I might start to feel overwhelmed in such a way that I miss out on the enjoyment of the season and the peace it is supposed to bring.

But, that's just it. What exactly do you need to do in order to feel like you can enjoy the holidays? What needs to be accomplished for you to feel like you're not going to get so overwhelmed by your "to-do" lists that you wake up one morning and the holidays are over and you seem to have missed it? How in the world are you going to even find time to make a list to figure out what should and shouldn't be on your LIST?!

Take a breath. And another. We'll get through this. It's all about simple prioritizing and getting rid of what you don't need. For instance, I absolutely must figure out how much decorating I really should do to keep things simple for me while we still intend to finish the much needed repairs in our home. I usually go all out for the season, and want nothing more than to have had the house done so that I could have everything "just so" and decorate to my little hearts desire, but it's just not gonna happen this year. But, I can do my best and still feel festive while staying in control and not getting overwhelmed. 

I came up with this list to help keep me focused and on track and remember to slow down and enjoy the holidays this year, no matter what.

1. Realize you can't do it all...

You need to learn to cut yourself some slack. You may feel you need to be (and I'm sure you are) Superman/Superwoman, but you don't need to be. No one is, no matter how they appear to everyone else. We all have our limits, and there isn't anyone more special than the next. Just focus on the meaning behind your actions and do your best, and your good intentions will shine through.

2. Learn to let go...

All those expectations we have about ourselves, the holidays, (every situation we think we need to control), are usually pretty unrealistic. And almost ALWAYS in our own heads. No one else has these expectations of us, but us. I know this for a fact. I used to put so much pressure on myself to get so much done over the holidays that I take a weeks vacation right before Christmas to get it all done: making gifts, crafts, wrapping, shipping gifts, baking, etc. It wore me out and ruined my own enjoyment of the holidays. Did everyone expect and request all that of me? No. (read that {.} as "PERIOD"). I expected it of myself. I continuously piled more and more onto myself until I was so exhausted that I couldn't wait for it all to be over. How fun. :/  So, let go of what isn't necessary, bringing me to number 3.

3. Prioritize...

Make a schedule, then narrow it down to what is an absolute must and then go over it again. To make it easy, use a "pros and cons" list format. The list can include things like cleaning, shopping, wrapping, baking, card signing/mailing, crafting, decorating, etc. Here are some examples:
                                 * who to shop for/what to buy vs what to make and for whom
                                 *  what to clean/which rooms/what days
                                 *  how to divvy up your wrapping schedule
                                 *  what to bake and what can be bought
                                 *  who to send cards to or making vs store bought and when to mail
                                 *  which crafts do you really want to make (cuz you don't have to make them all)
                                 *  just how much decorating do you need? (see # 2!)

Here is a link to my Pinterest board (don't worry, it's small) where you can find great tips for scheduling yourself throughout the holidays to get it all done, feel accomplished (and organized!) and stay relaxed so you can enjoy it for yourself, too!

4. Budget...

Minding the budgeting of your money in addition to your time is very important to keeping stress levels low. If you give yourself guidelines, and stick to them, you can easily stay on track. It's worth the "trouble" and you can get more bang for your buck, giving you more opportunity to give to everyone on your list. You can use this link provided above for these tips, too!

5. Delegate...

 Divide chores up among your family members, especially when preparing for a party or event (like a visit from in-laws). When you find a cleaning and decorating/preparing schedule you like from the Pins above, you can make your own schedules up of who-does-what around the house to help. And definitely enlist help with the wrapping, baking, shipping, etc. Make a chore chart and expect everyone to stick to it.

6. Stop with the guilt, already...

If you find yourself overwhelmed and feeling like you can't possibly do it all--stop. If you can't get all the handmade gifts done to perfection, buy something; it's the though that counts. If you can't bake up a dozen or so special made-from-scratch treats, only make one special thing to give out and buy the rest, just dress them in pretty packaging (or don't, because you may not have time!). If you can't attend all of your friend's or relative's kids' pageants or chorals, sweetly decline and move on. You are just one person, even with the delegating, stop feeling like you have to do it ALL! You don't.

7. Relax and take time for yourself...

You are supposed to be enjoying yourself. Remember, this is your holiday, too. Find time each day (what!?) to take a moment for yourself. It can be quick, like a couple sun salutations, or two hours long, like watching your favorite holiday movie. You can take a hot bath, drink some cocoa while gazing at the hard work you did on your tree or meditate upon the meaning of your 4th lit menorah candle. Browse Pinterest while sipping a hot chai tea and then actually do one of the holiday crafts you've been wanting to try. Heck, put on some Christmas music and dance in the kitchen! The idea is to give to yourself as much as you are giving to everyone else this time of year.

8. Have pure intentions...

All your goodness shines through if you act with pure intentions, so no matter what you are able to accomplish; do it well and the love behind it shines through. It doesn't matter if you are able to give a little or a lot to charity, your friends, your family, etc. this year. If you do it with loving kindness, that pure intention will shine through, and that's all that really matters.

I hope this helps you to have a more relaxing and peace filled holiday season this year. You can start with #7, you know...go on and check out some great tips and fun holiday crafts on Pinterest and get that budget going!

Have a great weekend!

As always, thanks for reading.



1 comment:

  1. you are just so smart must take after ur Mom notme.Great article


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