We frequently overdo it during the holidays, saying “yes” to every party or event to which we are invited, then wondering how we’re going to fit it all in. We overbook ourselves—even double-book ourselves, in an attempt to please everyone. The consequences of too much of a good thing? Shot nerves and a weakened immune system by the start of the new year! Sure, it’s great to connect with friends and family, but to stay sane during it all and avoid feeling run down before the new year even starts, we need to stay on top of, and be realistic about, how we will spend our time. The key to managing it all is organization, prioritization, and time management.
While you may get away without a schedule for the majority of the year, when time is compressed, like during the holiday season, a schedule keeps you organized. It ensures you won’t double-book and, perhaps even more importantly, it allows you to see your day at a glance. Having a clear view of how many activities or parties you’ve planned to attend within one day is a great way to test how you’ve managed your time. Perhaps you have scheduled too much for one day and need to strategize how to reschedule, combine, or compress events to give yourself or your family more downtime. And when you open your schedule to add something new, you’ll be reminded of your commitments and forced to prioritize those that mean the most.
And then, there are times when it is necessary to “just say no.” The holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends, but keep in mind that everyone is busy and running from event to event. Consider discussing your schedule with friends, and perhaps suggest making plans for January and February when the holiday rush is long over. I’m not suggesting that you cancel all your events—instead, find a balance between time out and time in—spend time with friends and family, but avoid overextending yourself.
We all want to look back on our holidays with contentment. Finding a healthy balance of activities and time for ourselves and our loved ones is the best and most enduring gift we can give ourselves this holiday season.
- Keep a holiday schedule. Keep one holiday calendar for your whole family, and try to schedule particularly hectic days for the beginning of the month. Literally map out exactly what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. Ask yourself, is the schedule realistic? If you have to leave early or arrive late to an event, contact your host in advance. If the schedule simply looks daunting, cancel plans sooner rather than later.
- Combine Activities. Plan a get-together with your friends at a yoga studio or riding bikes in the park. Gatherings that support your well-being are a win-win for your health, your relationships, and your schedule.
- Take it Offline. If you can’t connect with friends and family in person, give your texting fingers a break and take the time to write a card or make a phone call. All relationships need to be nurtured to flourish, and personal touches are so appreciated.