The holidays; it’s kind of a big deal no matter where you live. People travel across the country because our society has made “the holidays” this thing that is almost worshiped. We have to bend over backwards to the point of going into debt to make sure we spend enough money on everyone, make enough food (and it better be good food), the decorations must be “lit” (see what I did there?), you need the perfect outfit, and the chaos goes on. If you sit down and watch just one set of commercials right now, all this is shoved in your face. It’s overwhelming, is it not? How do we balance it all? Is there a happy medium? I believe there is a happy medium. Hang with me and we’ll bust this open and break it down.
Keep in mind that ultimately, this is all customizable given your family dynamic or situation. Also, fun fact: 70% of Americans struggle with finding a work-life balance. The following isn’t just for the holidays- it’s for all of the days.
Let’s start with the easier thing: unplugging. Turn off your computer, stop answering emails and turn on an auto-reply. Yes, I know there’s work to be done but work will be there after you visit with your family, I promise. Did you know that your family will never be in this exact season ever again? When you’re old and gray, are you going to sit in your wing-back chair and wish you had worked more? Probably not. Just turn off your work brain and turn on your fun brain.
Now that we took a small step in the right direction, let’s take a leap of faith- set boundaries. Yall, this one is hard. I’m in a season of doing it myself and I get it, it’s a process, but it is well worth the time and headaches. You will thank yourself later! Stop being a yes man, stop doing things out of obligation, stop allowing yourself to be manipulated, just stop. Take control of your own life and decide to do things because YOU decided to do it, not because someone else made the decision for you. I highly recommend the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
Ok, I’ll dial it back a little now. You’re doing great! This one seems simple, but if not done can wreck a lot of things. It’s communication. Simply communicating with your spouse about your holiday plans are going to make it smoother. Communicating with everyone about everything makes everything smoother, can we be honest? Maybe instead of trying to make everything for dinner by yourself this year, ask for help for once. Delegate someone else to bring the rolls instead of making them from scratch to save some time and let’s be real, save some sanity, too. Now don’t hear me wrong here. You don’t want to go around voluntelling people to do things. That’s not healthy communication and it’s contradictive to what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make things better, right? You want to be kind and gentle in your communication. Think before you speak. Always tell the truth, but don’t be mean in doing so. Use that brain; remember the fun brain?
Bonus point! I personally recommend a budget. It’ll be a learning curve at first but it’ll change your life, your legacy, and your family tree from now, on.
Get on board with these points and your holiday season will be smooth sailing! Well…smoother. Good luck out there!