I hope that yesterday’s post inspired you to come up with plans for this year’s gift giving, exercise, and quality family time—and to practice deep breathing for the times when said quality family time sends your stress level through the roof.
Here’s the rest of my holiday survival guide, with tips to help you deal with time-management issues that can be especially troublesome during the holidays. But they’re also useful at any time of year, and I think you’ll find them particularly handy the next time you do any traveling.
If you’re traveling by plane, prepare to arrive at the airport two hours before your flight. Airports are especially chock full of people at this time of year, so getting through security will be even worse than usual. Because many of those people fly only during the holidays and aren’t familiar with travel regulations, expect long lines and delays as they argue with the TSA about trying to carry liquids in excess of what’s allowed, take lots of time untying their shoes and removing several jackets, and are just generally confused by the entire process.
Get to the airport super early (and practice #4 above to deal with the elevated chaos levels there.)
Accept only invitations to events that you absolutely must attend or that you really want to attend. Don’t waste your time on events that you’re attending just because you received an invite to them.
For “obligation” events, plan on stopping by for an hour. Within that timeframe, make a beeline to those folks who need to see your face, then bolt as soon as you’ve checked the must-see people off your list. Have your reason for leaving early planned ahead of time, in case someone tries to thwart your departure with one more glass of wine.
For those events you look forward to attending, use similar tactics (though your departure strategy can be more flexible). If the party’s on a “school night” and you’ve got a crazed week ahead of you, make sure you leave early enough to have time to relax a bit (and destress) at home before hitting the sack.
Attend only mandatory events or parties you’re really excited about.
Find time to pamper yourself, even if it’s just for an hour a week. Get a massage, read a new novel, get a manicure—do whatever you consider a treat. These activities often fall by the wayside during busy times. But making time for yourself every December will help you look forward to the holiday season (with your “me” time) even more!
Go to your calendar right now and reserve one hour each week to do something only for yourself. Resolve to stick to this plan, even if the week spirals out of control. Take the time to take care of yourself—and preserve your sanity!
Just say no. This is a lesson I need to learn better myself: I’m so guilty of saying yes to everything, especially when people ask for help. But earlier this year I had an epiphany and realized that drowning in order to help others is no good for me (and typically leaves me angry at the other person for asking for help in the first place!). You don’t need to ignore someone who truly needs help, but you do need to choose your “yes” moments very, very carefully.
This year, try saying “no” once or twice. Work on prioritizing your time to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed while trying to help others.
Just say no!
This year I plan to stop at two glasses of wine at parties so I’m not hung over, tired, and cranky the next day. Ah, who am I kidding? I’ll focus on the other eight suggestions instead!
Decide if you want to limit your partying (or endure the consequences), and then be happy with whatever decision you make.
Best of luck with your holiday season! Here’s to not only surviving, but thriving. If your plans for 2014 include travel with an aging parent, keep this list in mind for techniques that will help both of you keep the stress down and the enjoyment up as you navigate the planning process and the trip itself.