So when I wrote those words, a few months ago, about staying stress-free this holiday season, I knew there was a fairly good chance they’d come back to bite me one day. I have to admit that I finally succumbed to the holiday craziness, but I’m trying to look at the positives.
First, I held out much longer than usual. Normally by the time October rolls around, I’m so busy that I start worrying that I’m going to wake up the next day and have it be mid-January already! But this year, I managed to keep it together until Thanksgiving and recover just a few days after Christmas.
Also, I seem to have stumbled across a planning technique that works well for me. In case there was any question, let me first say that I’m – by nature – a planner, so you can be fairly certain I’ve tried out most planning methods over the years. But I finally realized that I spent way too much time planning, especially around the holidays. I felt like I spent every spare moment planning and would even lie in bed for what seemed like hours each night, planning in my head before falling asleep. Doesn’t it seem like eventually the plan should be complete?
Then I realized that planning had become a habit that was taking up way to much time. So I decided to try (please don’t laugh) planning time to plan. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it really did work. I allotted certain times each week for planning and tried really hard not to think about it the rest of the time. Instead, I played with my kids, caught up around the house, danced or (gasp!) sat down and relaxed. And you know what? Everything still got done!
I also tried to focus on one thing at a time when planning. Rather than trying to plan Halloween, Thanksgiving, Noah’s birthday and Christmas all at the same time, I refused to think about the next task until the previous one was complete – and I found it to be much less overwhelming that way.
So I feel like I came close to my goal of de-stressing the holidays - but at the same time I still feel like I have a way to go. Should I just write off December as my crazy (but really fun) month? Or is it really possible to stay stress-free the whole way through?