Here are some tips on staying sane this holiday season that I have used and continue to use today. First off, I’d like to make it clear that I am not an expert on sanity. I too, try to fit more in a day than I could possibly get done. The holidays only accentuate me wanting to DO IT ALL! This is how I am on occasion.
Over the years I’ve learned a few strategies that have helped me battle my natural tendencies and these tips on staying sane this holiday season may just keep our sanity in tact. Here are some ways that I used for staying sane this holiday season and keep me from losing my mind.
1. Make a Holiday Bucket List of Traditions.
The best way to keep calm is to not try to do it all. But that’s easier said than done. The best way I’ve found to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out) is to focus on what’s most meaningful and valuable to the family.
We get together for our Family Meeting and talk about traditions we want to keep, throw out, or new ones we want to incorporate. it’s great to do this early in the season. Since it’s a group effort, everyone’s voice is heard, and half the fun is seeing what each person picks. These can be a mix of small and large activities.
2. Schedule Free Time
What I have learned about staying sane this holiday season that that over doing it can take it’s toll on the kiddos. A couple of years ago, my brother and his family came to visit for Christmas. We don’t get to see them very often, so we spent every single day together. My kids loved spending time with their cousins, but my kids taught me that every day with my family was just too much.
We try to schedule activities sparingly so that at least a couple of days a week and one day on the weekend is commitment-free. When we do this, everyone is way more calm, we can have more spontaneous fun and the weekend feels like an actual weekend instead of something I need to recover from on Monday.
3. Family First
The holidays should be about family (including like-family friends), so plug those family traditions into your calendar first and then add activities around that. If you know you always do Christmas Eve ham with your in-laws, and a cookie exchange with your best friends the weekend before, get that stuff into your holiday planner/calendar.
4. Meal Planning
This is a tough one for me. I don’t enjoy cooking that much and we don’t always have everyone home to eat. But I feel like a freaking rock star anytime of the year that I plan ahead and have everything I need to make good meals at home.
But the holiday season tends to get crazy and decision making is at its worst and you may say, “Who cares, let’s just go through the drive up of (name your fast food place)”. Meal planning makes answering that question… “what’s for dinner Mom?” one less thing to worry about, and prevents us all from eating cookies, candy and pumpkin pie every day during December.
5. Take the Stress Out of Gift Exchanges
If you have a big family like mine (or friend group), there’s a definite possibility you’ll feel overwhelmed, both emotionally and financially. In my family, there is me, my husband and four kids. So we buy 6 gifts to exchange with my siblings and their kids.There are over 55 siblings and cousins. My family is at a turning point with the whole gift exchange thing because now nieces and nephews are getting married and having kids. It is pure madness.
The idea of buying one gift instead of many small gifts can be very calming. Instead of individual gifts for individual aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. consider buying one family gift. (your sibling + his/her spouse + kids = 1 family)
Also consider themed gifts to make it more fun. For example, “What’s That Smell?” can be a theme for candles, spices or anything scented. Or maybe “Say Cheese” could be a cheese related gift theme. How fun would that be?
6. Go With the Flow
Another of the tips on staying sane this holiday season is to know that there may be a point where all reason goes out the window, and things get pretty hectic. If or when this happens, throw your hands up and try to go with the flow. You may have planned too many activities in a weekend or forgot to buy a gift until the last minute. Take a deep breath, and try your best not to sweat it. It’s all going to be OK.
7. If All Else Fails, Eat Chocolate
Chocolate is scientifically proven to reduce stress and depression.
I hope these few tips on staying sane this holiday season will help you get through the holidays calm, cool, and collected. Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone!
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