Stay Unstoppable during the holidays
Now that Halloween is behind us, I look at my calendar and think: It’s all a fast downhill slide to the end of the year, and it will be New Year’s Day before I know it! November will be a blur of Thanksgiving prep, with a few weekend trips thrown in. December is about decorating, holiday cards, gift buying — and celebrating the reason for the season with my children: an Advent calendar, their school Christmas play, Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and other fun activities. My birthday is in there too, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If that weren’t enough, we are planning our first-ever cruise with the kids at the end of the year. This is all in addition to the regular, everyday tasks we have to do as moms, like driving kids to after-school activities and appointments, preparing meals and making sure everyone has clean clothes to wear.
All of these responsibilities can make the pressure build, add stress and really take the joy out of the holidays. I admit that I can get stressed out at this time of year, when life seems like one long to-do list, but there are ways I try to keep the holidays fun and enjoyable the way they were meant to be.
– Keep it in focus. What is the intention behind each task? Almost always, it’s my family or friends. When I’m doing something related to the holidays, I think of my family and friends, because they are worth my time and effort. Thinking about how much my far-away friends will like a card, or what my children will learn by putting gift items in a shoebox for less-fortunate kids, or finding a thoughtful gift for a relative puts the task in perspective.
– Have a time out. Likewise, I also have to think of myself. If I’m tapped out, I can’t give to others. I like to run a few days a week, and this not only provides “me time,” but I get fresh air, sunshine (sickness-bashing vitamin D!) and exercise that helps me stay healthy so I can take care of my family. I also like to step outside in the morning, even if only for one minute, just to look at the sky and take some deep breaths. This is a great time of day to pray thankful prayers and meditate before the rush of the day begins.
– Prioritize. Some tasks are worth it; some are not. Yes, gifts have to be wrapped — but no, they don’t have to be wrapped with hand-stamped paper and homemade bows, if that doesn’t come easily to you. Which tasks are most important? Make a list. One thing I learned at a previous position is to do the most important tasks first in the day. I’m not always able to do that, but it is helpful advice. (A bonus tip that I swear by and suggest to friends: If you’re really overwhelmed and stressed, take a moment to write yourself a did-do list. It will give you a boost to realize everything you accomplished, even if you didn’t get it all done.)
– Promise yourself you will do something enjoyable. For me, sending out holidays cards is a chore. But it’s more fun for me if I can design them at a card site online, and if I can address them while listening to music or watching a favorite movie. Take a five-minute break from cleaning before the guests arrive to have a dance party with the kids. Shop with a fun friend. Daydream about your favorite star — whatever makes a holiday activity more pleasant or gives you the chance to let off some steam, do it! Simple advice, but it really helps.
Share your own tips to win
These are just my tips, but all moms have tips they can share. The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® are offering moms the chance to provide helpful ideas on the Motrin Facebook page. Go there to answer the most current question to enter a sweepstakes with weekly drawings for $100 gift cards. Every tip shared means a $1 donation to Safe Kids, an organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children.
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