As a recovering say-yes-to-everything, do-all-the-traditions kind of person, these exercises have helped me prioritize during the holidays. I am very grateful for my friend, Melissa, who introduced them to me.
Here are three ways to de-stress this holiday season:
1)Brainstorm what you like, cannot change, and what you can improve. Divide your paper into three sections. On the left side, brainstorm all that you like about the holidays. In the middle, confess to your paper what you cannot change. On the right, jot down what you can improve.
Baking Family lives far away More meaningful gifts
The "like" category will be the easiest to compile. But maybe you'll surprise yourself by what you do NOT write down (more about that later).
As for what you cannot change, distance of family or family dynamics (divorce, death in the family) are tough. Melissa found that this column was the most helpful, as she realized that she was stressing over stuff she could never change. Take Elsa's advice and let it go as best you can.
Personally, I like the "improve" section, because, obviously, I want to make THIS Christmas the best one yet. Last year, I started a Christmas Google Doc so I could reference what worked, what didn't, and how to tweak if necessary.
2) Jot down your holiday must-do's. Set the timer for three minutes. In that time, write down all the things that you must do this holiday season.
Time's up. Pencils down, people. My must-do's were somewhere between 12 and 20.
Cross off half of them. That's right: draw a line through the ones that you could live without.
Now that your list is cut in half...do that again. Choose half of what's left and just cross it out.
Hopefully, you have 1-5 remaining must-do's. These are your priorities; what's most important to you in the next month.
3) Create your bucket list. After completing the above exercises, create your bucket list of what you truly want to accomplish in the next month.
Maybe you thought you liked baking, but what you really love is being in the kitchen with friends or family.
Maybe you can search for Santa in places that aren't the hot, crowded, screaming-toddler-infested shopping mall.
Maybe, instead of paying full price for a show or performance, you play or sing your favorites at home, eating popcorn in your p.j.'s.
Each exercise can take as little as five minutes, and the time and peace they've given back to me is what makes it worth it. I hope you found this helpful, but if you didn't, just listen to Pentatonix. They make everything better.