by Rebecca Cofiño – Author of Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace.
Children bring so much joy to the holidays, but behind the scenes, they also create a lot of work for busy moms. We all want to create magical moments for our families, but the truth is, the holidays involve a lot of extra work and stress for already overwhelmed mothers. Never fear, I’ve got six sanity saving tips to help you streamline your holiday, and even have a chance to relax and enjoy it.
6 Sanity Saving Holiday Tips
- Get an accurate To Do List.
Before you charge full steam ahead, take a moment to plan your holidays. Figure out all the tasks you need to do for each holiday, such as photo cards, cooking, hosting a party, shopping, wrapping, your office holiday party… the list is really endless. Be sure to include items like watching favorite holiday movies or baking cookies together, so you don’t forget. When you see the enormity of your list, you will probably realize that some things need to be cut. Doing this at the beginning of the season helps you adjust your expectations, stay on budget, and not start projects that you won’t have time to finish.
- Reconsider Elf on the Shelf or pinteresty Advent calendars.
Elf on the Shelf may seem like a fun idea at the beginning of November, but when you are scrambling around in mid-December, are you really going to want to stay up late to pull a daily prank? If you do, gather all of your ideas and supplies now, so you don’t have to wing it at the last minute, or maybe set lower expectations for how often and how extreme your Elf’s antics will be. You could also let go of this tradition. After all, Santa needs all the help he can get at the North Pole.
The same goes for complicated DIY Advent calendars. Will they get expensive or take a lot of time to make? Maybe a traditional Advent calendar would make your life easier? You decide.
Read also: Must-Have Christmas Jumpers for Kids
- Choose your moment.
In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, moms are always the event planners, cooks, coordinators, photographers, and basically a Jane of All Trades. It’s hard to sit down and relax during the main events like the holiday feasts, because we are so busy making the magic happen. This creates hurt feelings, disappointment and even resentment at times.
A better choice is to choose one time that you will stop being Supermom, sit back and just cherish the moment. For me, this is the night of my children’s holiday show. I dress to the nines. I don’t volunteer. I make sure to get great seats. As I sit in the auditorium, I let the miracle of being a mom fill my heart. I smile and cry and make my husband shoot the video. It’s always so beautiful. On Christmas morning, after we unwrap the presents, I’ll be in the kitchen making gingerbread waffles. I am happy to do this, but also so happy that I took an unrushed moment to be fully present during the holidays. Claim your own moment, your own small miracle.
- Order your gifts online.
Traffic, parking lot congestion, schlepping all over the mall ― who needs it? Do yourself a favor and just order everything online at the end of November or the beginning of December. (Don’t wait and get stuck with excessive last minute shipping fees or even risk missing a delivery.) The selection online is amazing and free shipping abounds. You can even order wrapping paper and gift tags online, so you don’t have to find a babysitter and brave the crowds.
Read also: Gift Guide for Busy Moms
- Just say no!
The best way a mother can save herself some stress is to learn how to say no. It shouldn’t be hard, because we tell it to our kids all the time, but for some reason many mothers just can’t bear to turn down a volunteer opportunity or an invitation. Sister, the only way to get over that is practice. Decline all but your favorite party invitations. Going out every weekend is exhausting, but going to one fantastic party is super fun. Volunteer when and if it makes sense, but don’t feel obligated to stretch yourself too thin during the hectic holiday rush.
- Take care of yourself!
Prioritizing self-care is the most important thing you can do, not only for yourself, but for your entire family. This is akin to the flight attendant ordering you to put on your oxygen mask before you put it on your child’s. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. Believe me, when mom is stressed out, the whole family feels the tension in the air.
Exercising is the best way that you can take care of yourself. It allows you to release any
pent up frustration, it gets you out of the house, and it focusses your attention on something completely unrelated to the holidays. A welcome relief! Other self-care options are practicing yoga or meditation, taking a bubble bath once a week or reading lots of your favorite books. Just make sure that taking care of yourself isn’t the last thing on your To Do List.
If you follow these six tips, you will definitely save your sanity this holiday season. Just taking the time to be mindful of how you move through the coming weeks will eliminate a lot of holiday stress and open you up to experiencing more joy and peace. Isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be about? If you’d like even more insights and tips to manage holiday stress, you can read more in my book, Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace.
I wish you all happy, sane and stress-free holidays!
Rebecca Cofiño is a mindfulness expert who specializes in everyday spirituality and family life. She is the founder of mamaguru.com, a website devoted to helping people create meaningful happiness. She lives in Miami with her husband and two little boys.
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