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The Holiday Edition: Remembering Yourself

It’s that time again. It’s the time when life carries you away with business. The holidays are upon us, and while that means good food and great times, it can also mean unnecessary stress and anxiety from to-do lists that are too long. And that means longer nights and shorter tempers, which is no fun during the holidays.

My biggest tip to get through the holidays in a more patient, relaxed manner is to say no. I find this incredibly difficult. I want to do everything, to help everyone, and so forth…but I simply can’t. There aren’t enough Me’s in this world. There is only one, and while I’d like a few extra arms and bodies now and again, I can only do so much. Since becoming a mom, I’ve learned the value of saying no to other commitments. The secret is to know what is more important to you and sticking to your priorities.

And if you have to say yes but find yourself overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help! You don’t have to do everything! Give some of the responsibility to others and–this is the hard part–don’t interfere with how they go about discharging it. Their way may be better, and it gives you that much needed break and reduces your stress load.

Which means that you might also need to simplify your plans. There’s nothing wrong with doing so. Try not to go to so many places for Christmas. Make a simpler menu for Thanksgiving dinner. Invite fewer people. Attend only one holiday party. Leave some space in your calendar to simply have an off day every week where you don’t have to do anything but recharge and rest and even read that book you’ve been meaning to read/finish!

My last suggestion is to simply take a few minutes for yourself every day. I think mornings are best, but some people aren’t morning people. Do it at the time you know will work best with your schedule…but DO IT. Go to the gym, do a workout at home, breathe deeply for five minutes, write down your thoughts from the day in a diary, turn off all electronics and go for a walk with your dog, watch the sun rise/set–do whatever makes you happiest and gives you that “me time.” You, and those you love, will thank you for it.

In the end, recognizing your limitations is healthy. It brings you closer to understanding yourself, and enables you to build relationships with others in a trusting and wholesome way. It keeps you from stretching yourself too thin. It makes the holidays pleasanter because you can focus on what really matters in this life. And life is too short for regrets that could have been simply avoided by saying no.

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