7 Ways to Avoid Being Busy This Holiday Season
The holidays are usually the most stressful time of the year for us. We are juggling commitments with family, friends, our kids and our jobs. Being busy seems completely unavoidable in December. In this blog post, I’ll share some of my favorite strategies to avoid being busy this holiday season.
Living a grateful lifestyle means limiting our use of the word busy. Busy implies that we don’t have control over our lives and that we’re not taking time to be present by expressing our gratitude for what’s right in front of us. When we are too busy, we simply force ourselves to get through the day and collapse when it’s all over, sometimes not even knowing how we got through it. Let’s look at how we can avoid the busy trap this season and find time to enjoy it!
Here are my 7 ways to avoid being busy this holiday season:
1. Make it visual: Put all of your upcoming events on paper.
If you have a day planner that has a monthly overview, start there. Or simply take out a piece of paper and draw the month of December. Label the events in order of importance, most important get 5 stars, least important, 1 star.
2. What are your priorities?
Starting with the 1 star events, ask yourself this: Will participating or attending this event bring me more joy or more stress? If the answer is stress, immediately connect with the person who invited you and politely say no. It’s ok not to give a reason why you cannot attend the occasion; simply saying no is good enough. We can put ourselves into a more stressful situation when we are worried about how our ‘no’ will affect the other party. Instead, if we politely decline and do so with kindness (and appropriate notice), most hosts will understand.
3. How to receive a declined invitation:
If you are on the receiving end of a no, thank the person for giving you an honest answer and move on. ‘I’ll try to be there’ or ‘I’ll see if I can make it’ is much worse than a no. When I am hosting, I’d rather get the straight yes or no answer. Try not to take it personally or make the guest feel guilty about declining. This can be really difficult, especially when we have expectations about how we think an event will unfold.
4. Allow for space in your calendar.
Now that you’ve cleared off a few events, I recommend leaving the space open in your calendar. A few of my favorite holidays traditions include making time for a spontaneous visit to see Christmas lights or an afternoon curled up with my favorite holiday movie. Am I the only one who watches Love Actually and The Holiday every Christmas?
5. Avoid having too many expectations.
One of the reasons that we find ourselves in the busy trap is that we have set our expectations of ourselves and others quite high. In this other blog post, I wrote about how to avoid unmet expectations during the holiday season. When we can let go of our expectations and live more for the present moment, the feeling of being busy and overwhelmed disappears.
6. Stop complaining about being busy.
When we decide to stop complaining about being too busy, we naturally stop being too busy. What we focus on expands, so by complaining less often about being busy, we find that we do become less busy. Even if our calendar is still full, we feel more in control of our schedule since we are no longer complaining about it. I love to use the phrase ‘My life is full’ instead of ‘I’m too busy.’ The vibration of having a full life is much higher than when we complain about being too busy.
7. Choose to take care of YOU first
December is the best time to schedule in a bit of extra self-care. If you haven’t already booked with your massage therapist, I recommend calling asap to book (especially if your insurance renews in January). We can also combine errands with spending time with friends, by shopping together or even getting a holiday mani or pedi together. This helps keep our calendar a bit less crowded by combining two things at once. Much of the holiday preparations and shopping often falls to us women and moms; so creating space for self-care is a must during this time.
And most of all, give yourself time to breathe and enjoy all of the magic and joy of the holidays. We all know that the most important part of the holiday season is the time we spend with those we love. As we learned from the Grinch:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
What are your strategies for keeping your calendar under control during the holidays? How will you avoid being busy this holiday season?
Stay tuned!! I’ll be doing my first live event in the Vancouver area on Saturday Jan 20th, 2018. Save the date even if you’re not local, as we may have a live stream option available. My topic will be how to build a social media following.