Honestly, no matter how much you love the holidays, they will always be a little bit stressful. Between finishing up work, traveling to see family or hosting them at your house, and making sure the kids have the most magical Christmas ever… it can be a lot.
And as moms and women, our tendency is always to put our needs on the back burner in favor of everyone else’s. This time of year, though, I know that what you really want is to unwind, spend time with the people you love, and not feel like you’re two seconds away from screeching at someone.
But how can we make this time of year easier and less stressful for ourselves? By taking care of ourselves first. I know, it sounds counterintuitive — this time of year is all about other people, right?
Well, you can’t pour from an empty bucket. So let’s talk about what you need to help maintain your sanity during the holidays.
In this episode, I talk about:
- The importance of taking care of yourself this holiday season
- How to develop a holiday game plan
- The importance of routines even when you’re traveling or kids are home
- How to set boundaries and say “No” when necessary
The holiday game plan
Worried the holiday season will turn you into a Grinch? Or just be a lot to deal with? The first thing to do is develop a holiday game plan.
Just like my Get A Game Plan for your week, I’ve found a holiday game plan to be my golden ticket to an easeful holiday season.
Start by diving into your travel plans, if you have any. What plane tickets or hotel stays need to be booked in advance? Plan out the days leading up to your travels. Make a packing list and a to-do list.
Give yourself plenty of time to get everything done in the days before you leave, so travel can be as simple as hopping in the car or driving to the airport on the day of.
Then, if you’re like my husband and me, you might want to plan out how you’re going to go from one set of family to the other. It takes some navigating, because Scott’s family lives by us and my family lives four hours away. Then we have to monitor the weather, figure out where we’re staying, etc.
In the name of self-care, I just want to remind everyone that you *don’t* actually have to travel for the holidays if you don’t want to! It’s completely valid and totally fine to stay in your own home for Christmas. You can even ask your family to come to you!
Okay, but if you’re still seeing family over the holidays, you might be getting a little stressed. If there’s anyone in the world that can push our buttons perfectly, it’s family! Which leads me to my next point…
Check in with yourself consistently
Y’all, even though I love my family to pieces, sometimes all that togetherness can be a bit stressful. So when the holidays come around and I know I tend to be a little on edge, I take the time to check in with myself even more regularly than normal.
I make sure that I’m doing my morning journaling, and take the time to breathe, even if that just means going for a walk around the block!
Stick to your routines
I know this might sound a little impossible, but it’s really key to making it through the holidays without feeling like you just ran a marathon. Ready for it?
Do your best to stick to your routines.
Our routines allow us to check in with ourselves, and they can help us feel anchored during a busy time. Even while traveling or staying with family, how can you adapt your routines so that you’re still taking care of yourself? What might you bring with you during holiday travel to help you feel a little more like yourself?
This might mean still going for that morning run even if you’re staying with your parents or in-laws. It might also mean taking 10-15 minutes at night to read a book before lights out. Whatever routines you have every day or in a week that help you feel anchored, do that.
Hold your boundaries
Next, the best way to care for yourself is to hold your boundaries.
I know my mamas out there will understand this one, especially when it comes to their kids. When we grow up, move out, and start to establish ourselves as adults in this world, we often change our behavior patterns from the ones we grew up with.
And that’s a great thing! But it can sometimes be hard for family to understand why you’re deviating from their norm. Especially when you’re raising your kids differently. Which often leads to them trying to push boundaries.
Your mom might want to let the kids have a super sugary breakfast.
Your uncle might start cussing in front of the kids — even when you’ve asked him not to.
Your whole family may want to give large presents when you’ve specifically asked that the kids just get smaller stocking stuffers.
Maybe another part of your family is expecting you to make the trip to their house on Christmas morning when you planned to stay where you are.
This time of year is full of family drama, and it can be stressful!
But whatever your boundaries are, you owe it to yourself to keep them firm. That’s something they need to deal with, not you or your child.
Saying “no” is okay!
Saying no is probably the hardest skill I’ve ever had to learn. I know it goes along with my previous point, but the truth is… Saying NO during the holidays is about more than just avoiding drama.
It’s about taking care of yourself and not stretching yourself or your family too thin. If you say yes to everything, the holidays will not be as enjoyable or as (positively) memorable as you want them to be!
Think about it: If someone wants you to drive 4 hours to their house on Christmas morning, that means grumpy kids, tons of extra packing, worrying about weather, etc.
If someone wants to suddenly host a gift exchange when you thought you were already done shopping, it can throw off all your plans AND your budget.
Taking care of yourself and your family is NOT selfish. It’s actually the best kind of selflessness because the better care you take of yourself, the more you will eventually have to give. And if taking care of yourself means saying no to someone this holiday season…
Want help establishing better routines & time management before the holidays?
I know the holidays can bring up a lot of stress, worry, and so many feelings! Whether you love the holidays or couldn’t care less, there will probably be some stress involved.
But if I can leave you with just one piece of self-care advice, it’s this: managing your time wisely is the best form of self-care ever invented!
If you want to prep yourself for the holidays and get some great time management in place, I’d love to invite you into my It’s About Time Academy.
This group membership combines monthly group coaching and an exclusive members-only podcast with the support of a community to help go-getters like you stop feeling overwhelmed, stuck, and scatterbrained.
You’ll also be part of a community working to establish boundaries and take better care of themselves this holiday season and EVERY month.
You can learn more and join here!
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
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