[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]In a perfect world, I’d spend the month of December ice skating from one holiday party to the next, leaving a wake of biodegradable glitter behind me. This year, however, it seems like I barely have enough time to lace up my skates. When your plate runneth over with responsibilities, obligations, and really good things too… how on Earth do you fit it all in, and still have time to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fourteen times? How?!
Though I would love nothing more than to have perfect holiday hair, to wear a dazzling smile around the clock, to serve the most delectable holiday treats, to give the most impressive and crisply wrapped presents to everyone on my list, to fit in all of my workouts exactly as planned and leave the gym glistening like a dewy December morning, to rise early by the light of a Christmas star and go to bed dreaming of sugar plums… You know what?
For me, maintaining balance during the holiday season is all about managing expectations. And making lots of lists. Like this one, for example.
- Make a plan… As if the holiday season weren’t busy enough, December and January happen to be two of my busiest months at work. Oh, and I joined a second soccer team. Because I have an over-commitment problem. At the start of each week, I map out my priorities and goals for the following seven days. That way, I stay focused on what is non-negotiable, what really needs to get done. These priorities are not just appointments I need to keep, but also meal plans, phone calls with friends, and workouts at the gym. I keep a second list of items to check off once those priorities have been accomplished. Sadly, “take my dog to meet Santa” is on that second list.
- …but be flexible. Life is bound to throw us a
snowcurve ball or two. Meetings get rescheduled, we catch a cold that leaves us with a man voice for four days, our rental minivans get flat tires. While it would be nice to have a back-up plan for all of life’s unexpectedness, it’s sometimes just best to be flexible. And, I find, it’s easiest to be flexible when I am well-rested, well-hydrated, relaxed and listening to Christmas carols.
- Take a time out. Ever wonder how Santa makes it to every, single house in just one night? Simple: he takes the rest of the year off. Be sure to schedule some down time, even if it’s fifteen minutes here and there to clear your mind, take a walk, or a big deep breath. As much as this is the season of giving, it should also be the season of taking. It’s impossible to take care of everyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Please re-read that last sentence until you believe me. Now nod and say, yes ma’am like they do on that Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders show. (You know you watch it.)
- Indulge in what makes you happiest. Christmas is, far and away, my favorite holiday. I love the anticipation leading up to it. It is a time when I feel most in touch with my faith, and feel especially mindful of all that I have to be grateful for. I love seeing friends and family, the excuse to wear overly sparkly things, driving around to admire Christmas lights (the tackier, the better) and enjoying all things peppermint. It’s not hard for me to get carried away when those first few notes of “All I want for Christmas” (the Mariah version, obvi) play. I like to soak all this in, and save it up for the less exciting, colder, greyer months of winter in Boston. You know, like February.
- Say yes if you need help. If someone offers to lend a hand, and you could use one (or four), accept. Simple as that.
No matter how many pieces of pie you are trying to cram onto your plate, if something is important, you will make room. And if it’s not… welp, sneak it onto someone else’s plate. ‘Tis the season for sharing, is it not? Wishing you all a very merry and balanced holiday season!
Also On Tap for Today:
- FitFluential is hosting a ho-ho-holiday giveaway
- Help families in need by donating to Globe Santa
- I think I found the perfect drink for holiday toasts
How do you stay balanced during busy times? And, where are the best Christmas lights in Boston?