Parties, shopping, eating, drinking, entertaining, more parties, fighting for parking at the mall, more shopping, wrapping, cooking, more eating
If this all sounds too frighteningly familiar, youve probably been hit by the seasonal bug known to most as the holiday time crunch. The condition usually deprives you of rest, time for yourself and even, ironically, time with those you care about most. Fortunately, with a little preparation and a little resolve this condition is completely preventable.
Plan practically. Dont fool yourself into thinking youll really be able to attend four parties on the same night. Sit down and take a close look at your schedule. Prioritize and map out a holiday calendar thats realistic and gives you some flexibility and room to breathe.
Dole tasks out. Its easy to get so caught up in your list that you forget there are many around ready to help. Change DIY duties into DIWO (do it with others) by asking family and friends to lend a hand. Make that extended family dinner youre hosting a potluck, enlist children to help out with gift wrapping or leave your partner in charge of running those pesky errands while you finish up the seasonal shopping.
Get creative with multitasking. Shop for gifts online while your holiday treats are baking, sign greeting cards as you wait for the kids hockey practice to end or dust the furniture as you chat with your aunt Mildred on your cordless phone. Effective multitasking can help you get through that to do list a little faster and free up some precious time to spend with your family.
Make me time. It may seem to go against holiday instincts, but scheduling time out for yourself is one of the best gifts you can give to everyone. Remember: burning the candle at both ends will not only leave you exhausted, itll probably make you feel pretty bah humbug towards the season. By taking a few hours of down time youll be relaxed, recharged and ready to face the holiday seasonand family and friendswith revitalized cheer.
Get help. If your budget allows, why not give yourself the gift of time and hire someone to help out. Whether its contracting a maid service to do the big holiday clean, paying the teenager down the street to shovel your drive, or ordering healthy pre-made meals from a personal chef service, enlisting outside assistance will add hours to your clock and reduce your stress levels.
Say No.nicely. Many people have trouble setting social limits during this season. Cant stand the thought of attending yet another open house? Send a sorry I cant make it note and a small gift for the hosts well in advance of the event. Feeling consumed by weekly office holiday cocktail parties? Politely refuse the invite and offer to organize a get-together in the quieter months of January or February instead. Saying no isnt easy, but if done with thoughtfulness and care it can spare you the time-crunching conundrum of saying yes.
Rekindle holiday spirit. Schedule at least one night a week to sit back, relax and enjoy the people you love. Whether its a family ice-skate outing, a casual movie night with friends, or a board game night with the neighbours and their kids, create opportunities for shared down time.
During all the hustle and bustle its easy to forget the true meaning of the season. But by taking a few moments to prioritize, youll avoid the holiday crunch and discover that time really can be on your side, even during the busy holiday season.
Need more information on time-management or how to better manage stress over the holiday season? Your Employee Assistance Program can help. You can receive support through a variety of resources, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call your EAP (Employee Assistance Program) at 1.800.387.4765 for service in English, 1.800.361.5676 for service in French.