5 Tips for Staying Sane During the Holidays

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It’s that time of year again folks! Time for twinkly lights, jovial music, spiked eggnog and tryptophan comas!

This also happens to be my favourite time of year. I’ll admit I am one of those people who loves when they start playing Christmas music in malls, has my tree up by early November and insists on watching every Christmas movie ever made, every year. Love Actually is my favourite, and yes I still cry when the little boy runs through the airport to tell the little girl he loves her. Anyone who doesn’t cry at that part is a soulless robot.
But, aside from the general cheer, the holidays also bring copious amounts of get-togethers. From large, formal parties to casual dinners, lunches and drinks. Everyone seems to want to catch up with old friends and new friends before the holidays hit. Maybe this desire to re-connect is a result of all of those sappy movies that make us reflect on the past year, and realize how long it’s been since we’ve seen anyone. Or, maybe it’s because there’s just something about this time of year that makes it feel good to be out amongst the cheerful people, colourful lights and jolly music and make more of an effort than we normally would?

Either way, this time of year can be quite hectic and overwhelming for some with so many demands on our time. As we all know, packed schedules can be particularly overwhelming for an introvert, so here are 5 tips that keep me sane and help me to avoid turning into a huge Grinch:

1) Make a visiting schedule – I know this applies to life in general, but let’s face it, we don’t use our calendars as much as we should when it comes to our personal lives.Try to schedule the friends and family you want to see as far in advance as possible and actually put the date into your calendar. If you plan in advance it won’t seem so overwhelmingly stressful and you might actually look forward to it.
2) Remember it’s okay to say No – Despite our best organizational efforts, sometimes we just can’t make time for everyone during the holidays. If this person is truly your friend, they will understand and not wish an anxiety attack on you if you need to schedule time with them in the New Year. If they don’t understand, well you might want to re-assess your friendship. Harsh, but fair.

3) You can’t buy presents for everyone – It is virtually impossible to buy presents for everyone you know, nor is it necessary. I recommend making a list of everyone you really need (and want) to buy a meaningful present for and then give everyone else a lovely card and maybe some homemade cookies if baking is your thing. A thoughtful card goes a long way.

4) Make Lists & Shop Early – These might be two points but believe me they go hand it hand. I know shopping early is something we all say we’ll do and it totally doesn’t happen. I am guilty of this. I recommend taking an hour on a Saturday to make a list of all the people you want to buy for (refer to tip 3!) and make a list of gift ideas for each person. If you listen to tip 3 this list shouldn’t be too long. If you make said list early enough (say August?) you can actually start keeping an eye out for gifts before they become overpriced.

5) Don’t Forget About You – Last, but definitely not least, remember to take time for yourself. Yes this is the time of year for giving to others, but, as I always say to my Mom, “if you don’t take care of yourself first, you’re no good to anyone!” Considering my Mom has a habit of thinking of everyone else but herself, I find this to be an effective phrase.

There you have it! These are some tidbits I find helpful during the holidays and I hope they help you too.

Now folks, I want to hear from you. What do you find helpful to stay sane and keep organized during the holidays?

Coming Up:
Stay tuned for my step by step adventure cooking my very first turkey!

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