How the heck is it already November!? I feel like time is not just marching on but it somehow got a hold of a fast Italian sports car and is steadily trying to run me over. This month is absolute madness around here and the holidays are just around the corner which means the list of things to do has multiplied a thousand-fold and is begging me to gift-wrap, bedazzle and hand-deliver every item while singing carols…and probably dancing too. Sheesh! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
In an effort to tame just a bit of that madness I made a goal last year to get Christmas cards and neighbor gifts and the bulk of the shopping done by Thanksgiving so that we could spend the month of December in a state of relative relaxation just enjoying each other’s company and all the events and hoopla that will inevitably crop up. Little did I know that we would book a spontaneous trip to Ireland, that I’d take it into my head to plan a surprise party for my husband’s 50th birthday, have tickets to several concerts and performances, and start the month out with an awesome cold. Add to that the preparations for Thanksgiving and everything I need to do to help contribute to this amazing event at the end of the month, and well, there’s a lot on my plate. Needless to say it won’t all get done in the time or way I’d hoped but I’ve decided to just go with it rather than stressing. (We’ll see how well that works, but that’s the plan!)
So, my Christmas cards have become Thanksgiving cards which will give me a chance to shower my loved ones with gratitude for their influences in my life. And hopefully will be a bit more personal and standout rather than becoming lost in the deluge at Christmas time. It also gives me a great opportunity to share this Thanksgiving playlist with everyone. One of the things that has saved my sanity over and over again throughout my life is music. I firmly believe heaven will be one continual musical with people spontaneously breaking into song and dance at every opportunity (and I firmly believe that I will thus be blessed with the ability to dance!) So, as I will wish to everyone on my Christmas card list a few moments carved out of the craziness to be able to listen with those they love, so I wish to you.
And here are a few other things I’ve learned that have helped me make it through some of the busier moments:
- Make a list! While it’s sometimes overwhelming to see the pages and pages of things that need to get done it makes it so much easier for me to group tasks together, prioritize and work out a plan of attack. Can you make phone calls while waiting in the carpool line? Can you group errands to save you some trips?
- Make a list part 2. Take a really good look at that list. Can you outsource anything? Or drop it altogether? While we sometimes think that we need to do it all, honestly some things just aren’t important. If it’s not going to feed your soul (or your family) then maybe it doesn’t really need to be on the list. Be honest and brutal…it’s okay to say no, to buy cookies for the bake sale instead of making them, or let the kids skip out on soccer this season. The world won’t end. I promise.
- Take time to take care of yourself. This one can be tough. It’s easy to justify skipping the workout to squeeze in another load of laundry or eating the cookies instead of an actual lunch but resist! The old adage ‘if mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy’ applies in spades here. If you’re well-rested and healthy you can take better care of everyone and everything. So find a few minutes to do some yoga or meditation, stock the fridge with some quick, healthy snacks, stick to your sleep routine; your immune system will thank you.
- Take care of yourself part 2. Schedule in a few minutes daily to unplug, unwind, and really relax. This works especially well if it’s something out of the ordinary so that it truly feels like a splurge and gives your mind a chance to reboot. Grab an adult coloring book, savor a piece of fancy chocolate, take a walk and observe what’s around you, immerse yourself in a song or piece of music; whatever it is that makes you happy make sure you find a little time to do it fully and mindfully.
What are your favorite tips for preparing for a stressful event or time? (or keeping your sanity on a normal day?!) Any favorite songs you listen to around the holidays? I’d love to hear about them!
And good luck to all of you and whatever holiday madness may come your way. You’ve got this!