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The holidays are here friends, they come at the same time every year and bring on a lot of the same stresses. Mental stress, physical stress, family stress.
When Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy. Trying to get it all done all at once can run us ragged, but if you pace yourself and try to remember these 10 things, you can relax and enjoy the holidays with your family.
Here’s my advice:
1. Stop and Breathe
It seems obvious, but we rarely take the time to really do this anymore. We have tunnel vision and rush from place to place, barely noticing the sun is shining and the birds are still singing. We breathe to survive, but we rarely breathe to live.
Take at least 5 uninterrupted minutes at various points throughout the day. On your porch. In the car before heading in to work. Outside the work environment on a lunch break. Drive in silence on the way to your destination. Just stop and listen. 5 minutes can seem like a long time when you do it.
2. Take a Walk with a Friend
It isn’t necessarily a fitness walk, more of a way to get outside for fresh air and needed time with another human. Walks have a way of getting you to talk long-form and the great outdoors just have a way of getting you to talk about what you need to get off of your chest. Long, free conversation can be very healing.
3. Learn to Say No
No is a very important sentence. The holidays have a way of making us want to get more involved with schools and the community, but it does no good to stretch yourself so thin you aren’t able to enjoy what you’re doing. Your mood sets the tone in everything you do and it trickles down, so be mindful of self-care and preserve your energy.
4. Shop Online for Gifts and Groceries
I just can’t do crowded stores, congested traffic and crowded parking lots. My life was forever changed with online shopping. Amazon has absolutely everything for everyone, and you can have your items shipped anywhere.
This really came in handy for us last year as we made a long road trip home. We had the gifts shipped to the grandparents houses for everyone and had a wrapping party when we got there. We didn’t have to haul everything around in the car and Amazon Prime even got last minute gifts there quickly.
All stores have their Black Friday ads online as well and they partake in Cyber Monday promotions as well, so take full advantage of it!
You can now also shop online for groceries! I tried Walmart’s FREE curbside grocery service and it changed my life!
I ordered and paid for everything online from birthday party supplies to dairy to meat and fruits/vegetables and paper goods and I scheduled a pickup time.
They met me and loaded my car up with my groceries for the week. So all I had to do was bring them home. No dragging kids through the store, no waiting in checkout lines and NO shopping! It was amazing. Click here to use get $10 off your first order!
It is a FREE service. It’s a new program, so it isn’t yet offered at every store, check your store for details.
5. Know Everything Does Not Have to Be Perfect
There seems to be a lot of pressure out there to make sure we make perfect, long-lasting memories for our families, and I think it’s okay to buck the trend and branch out to do something differently, or to just say you know what, this year I’m going to enjoy the holiday so I’m going to order a meal or eat on paper plates and be fine with it.
In this article I wrote for the Huffington Post, I again reiterate that nobody’s happy if mama’s not happy so just go with the flow and spend the holidays in a way that fit your family and current stage of life.
If it makes you feel any better, read this post about the year I tried to make a Tennessee Country Ham for Thanksgiving, complete with an early morning fire alarm and a roasting pan that was way too small: You Win, Giant Ham.
6. Encourage Someone Else
Yep, that’s right. Showing kindness to others is where it’s at, especially when they don’t expect it. You will feel so good offering genuine help and kindness and it will somehow lighten your load. I once put together a care package for a struggling mom with a heartfelt thank you note for all that she does for her kids. It really meant a lot and it was a big surprise.
Amazon has a lot of cool snack care packages that could be considered for students or members of the military:
No one hand-writes cards or sends care packages anymore, it’s so nice to get something in the mail with a personal touch!
7. Remember Yourself
Moms often give and give and give until they suffer, so remember yourself too. Stop and breathe, take a walk, say no, get a haircut, pedicure, buy fancy chocolates to keep your own chocolate stash, take a long hot shower or meet up with a friend for coffee or a matinee.
And keep healthy snacks on standby along with the chocolate too, it will go a long way in keeping up the energy.
8. Listen to Podcasts During Mundane Tasks
I hate folding laundry. I loathe it. I don’t fold until it’s about 4 baskets high so it becomes a large chore. So if I have laundry or food preps on the list I love to pass that time by listening to leadership podcasts.
There are a ton of them out there and all you have to do for many of them is push play on their website, so you can try them out before you subscribe. I plug my phone into my kitchen radio and soak up the positivity. You can listen in the car, car pool lane, deadlocked traffic, waiting in the doctor’s office or at night after the kids are finally in bed.
It feels good to feel like you’re doing something to improve yourself while you do busy work. Who knows, maybe you can start thinking about how to get that long lost dream back up and rolling.
I like Christy Wright’s Business Boutique Podcast because she’s all about busy moms and dreams. There are a ton of great podcasts out there. Just Google “podcast” and a keyword that suits you and you’re in business.
9. Delegate Tasks
Kids can wash vegetables and fruit and help clear away dishes.
You can also put those kids to work to earn those gifts from Santa year round! Take the time to show them how to do various tasks around the house once, and have them earn screen time or an allowance when they help out.
I have my 9 year old unload and load the dishwasher and it’s a big help to me.
Check out the School Of Mom series where I took the time to teach both of my kids how to help me around the house, from learning how to dishes by hand to laundry to shopping at the store on a budget and more. My toddler had a “Toddler Task” for each chore so he could help too and he loved it.
It was great quality time that we spent together and they ended up teaching me a lot too.
For those times after we stop and breathe and take a walk and say no and we still feel stretched to the limit. If we are running out of time, or we have anxiety about seeing family that stresses us out. Ask God for help, ask him for a powershot and the grace and the right words to get through it.
He will meet you right where you are, even if you are in the car crying in the store parking lot. We are not stone ponies, reach out and ask for help.
You can do this, you can handle it! You’re doing fine.