The Stress of the Holidays

It’s that time of the year again when it’s nothing but holiday cheer as far as the eye can see. Everyone seems to be bustling, and chances are that your To Do List has grown to epic proportions in an attempt to keep up with everything going on around you. There are parties to attend and host, gifts to give, and cards to send. Have you considered your New Year’s Resolutions yet? You’re laughing, aren’t you. However, this is the perfect time to do it. Now is the time to find (and make) quality time in your life.

sleeping beautyThe fact of the matter is that without taking time for you in the chaos of work, family and social obligations, the balance of life gets out of whack. Our health suffers when stress rises. It’s harder to focus at work and at home. The worst part is looking back at the holiday season which is supposed to be full of joy and celebration and only seeing hassles and stress. So take a step back and start at least one good habit for the New Year. Let’s find you some ‘me’ time.

Make a Map – In order to find time for yourself, you need to see where it’s currently being spent. First, list the activities that you would like to spend more time doing and rank them in importance. Are they activities that fire your creative spark or sink you into deep relaxation? Regardless of the motivation, make that list of where you want some time to go.

Next make a list of where your time is going now. It’s incredibly easy for a week to pass in a long blur of work, meetings, carpool, grocery shopping, after school activities, social whirlwind. However, take the time to really think about all the things you accomplish in a day. You may be amazed at how little of your time goes to doing things that you love.

Reroute – In that long list of what you do on a daily basis, which things can you delegate? Are there any opportunities to outsource some of that? Can someone take over your carpool day? Can one of your children take over a chore? Reallocating some of these responsibilities will help reroute some of your time into an activity that relaxes or restores you.

Another crucial part of this is giving you a chance to disconnect. Whether it’s leaving your cell phone in your purse for a couple hours or turning off the computer, enjoy the silence away from the almost constant barrage of news updates and social media chatter.

Seek Peace – One of the biggest cures for stress is exercise. This can take the form of a run around the neighborhood, a trip to the gym, a yoga class or meditation. Endorphins are your friend. And not only is exercise good for your body, but it relaxes the mind and elevates your mood. Even something as simple as a 20-minute brisk walk can reset your attitude.

Finding balance between work and family and the holiday whirlwind is tricky, but it can be done. Instead of telling yourself that you’ll start taking care of your needs next year, start right now. Your body and your attitude will thank you. Quality time for yourself is essential if you choose to live a creative, energetic and happy life. And it’s a crucial element to attaining balance.