I feel this time of year is paradoxical. It should be the quiet time of the year due to shorter daylight hours. The long evenings should give us more time to relax with family and friends, or even get more sleep. I believe November and December is the ideal time to reflect on the year that has almost ended and to start making plans for the year ahead. This is when we should focus on getting our house in order, both physically and mentally.
The reality is that this time of year is very different, hence the paradox. For many of us, this is not the quietest but the busiest time of the year, and by January 1st we are ready to collapse. There is just too much to do between Thanksgiving and the New Year—and women do most of it! Shopping, cooking, planning, preparing, cleaning up, attending parties and school recitals, and, and, and…
When you are pulled in a hundred different directions at once, here are five simple tricks that will help you stay balanced:
1. Make a list. If it’s out of your head then you don’t need to think about it anymore. Mark it down on your calendar or add it to your electronic scheduler and set a reminder. Once you’ve completed something, cross it off the list! That sense of accomplishment will bring you a bit of joy and relief each time.
2. Set realistic expectations. Each day, either at night or first thing in the morning, set aside a few minutes to think about what needs to be done within the next 24 hours. Follow my Rule Of Five: plan to do no more than five things in a day. If you have to go out to run errands, try to keep it to three stops or less so you don’t end up running around all day long.
3. Decide what is most important. Prioritize the five things you are going to do each day and do the most important one first. That way it’s done and out of the way.
4. Ask for help. Your mother can pick up the kids a few more times this month and your husband can stop at the market to grab last minute items. Take advantage of car pool offers, too—those minutes you aren’t driving are minutes you can be finishing an item on your list. Use these magic words: “What would really help me a lot is…” Or, “I’d love it if you would…” Remember to be specific: “Help me more” is not the same as “Please pick up milk and sugar on your way home.”
5. Be thankful. Stop every day for at least fifteen minutes. Mediate, have a cup of tea in a pretty cup and saucer, or savor a glass of wine in the evening. Remind yourself of your blessings and focus on the positive.
I hope these tips help you navigate the busy holiday season. If you’re looking for more insights, The Women’s Code has a simple tool that can help you to find better balance. You can find it here: http://thewomenscode.wpengine.com/balancetest.
The Balance Quiz is free and takes only 3 minutes. Plus, you will receive a free five-day mini coaching course just for taking the quiz. My holiday wish for you is to stay in balance and enjoy this special time of the year!
Your Balance Coach