Strategies For Avoiding Holiday Stress
Contributed by Anne Blumer, www.solutionsforyou.com
After we are all happily stuffed from our Thanksgiving feast, our attention starts to turn towards the holidays of December. Are you ready? Do you have a plan? The best way to avoid the stress of the holidays is to have a plan and stick to it. With a plan you can easily say yes or no to invitations and events based upon what you decided is a priority for you and your family during the holiday season. To help you create your holiday plan follow my 5 Steps to Organizing® and strategies for avoiding holiday stress.
STEP 1: Strategize
List all your holiday activities that you want to prioritize.
List everyone that is on your gift list.
What is your budget for gift giving?
STEP 2: Group and Reduce
Work from the above list and eliminate the activities you and your family do not wish to continue.
Eliminate the activities that are in your "should" category.
If it is too difficult to decide, narrow down your activities by allowing each family member to pick only one activity that is most important to them.
Create new traditions as your family grows and matures.
Make an agreement with those on your previous gift exchange list to eliminate that practice this year or donate your time, money or possessions to a charity.
STEP 3: Assign a Zone
Write down your new and improved list of activities, traditions, and gift list you want to continue this year.
This list is what you will now use to create your timeline for the rest of the month.
STEP 4: Contain and Label
On your family calendar write down when you are going to do each activity and any other days necessary to complete the activity.
For example, gift making can involve more than one day to buy materials, make gifts, wrap gifts, and mail or deliver gifts. Or, hosting a holiday open house involves planning the menu, deciding who to invite, buying or making the invitations, shopping for the food, preparing the food, and cleaning the house.
Work backwards from Christmas Day or Chanukah to determine what you (and others) need to do and when in order to stay focused and organized.
STEP 5: Evaluate and Maintain
Can you follow this plan easily?
Did this plan enable you to enjoy the activities you chose?
Did this plan enable you to enlist the help of your family?
Will you want to continue this next year?
Now you, and your family, have an agreed upon holiday plan. When other activities come up — invitations to parties, school productions, etc. — you can look at your holiday calendar plan and decide if it will fit into your plan. If not, say NO and be at peace with your decision. If it will, say YES and enjoy the holidays!
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