Monday, December 7, 2015


By Mary Kennedy                                             
If you're feeling frazzled and overwhelmed during the holiday season, take heart. It's normal!  Instead of feeling happy and relaxed during what's supposed to be the "happy holidays" most people feel tired and out of control, their stress levels soaring through the roof. Here are a few quick tips that might help you get back on track.
1. Is your to-do list realistic? Take a cold hard look at it. Can you really accomplish all these tasks in the time allotted? Incredibly, Christmas is less than 3 weeks away and you need to take a few moments and prioritize. Think about making an A list, a B list and a C list. There is something powerful about making a list, analyzing it, and checking off the items as you accomplish them. But first, let's divide up that list. Remember? A, B and C.
The A-list is your "must do." This could be entertaining, hosting family events, selecting gifts for the special people on your list. Be sure to add something "meaningful," such as creating a new holiday tradition, catching up with an old friend and doing something creative and joyful to mark this time of year. You don't want to sleep-walk your way through the holidays, you want to build memories.
Your B list is your "It would be nice..." list. Yes, it would be nice if you baked three dozen cookies from scratch. But years from now, will your family really remember if you baked those cookies or bought them? See how many of your "A" list priorities you can safely move to the B list. It might be more than you thought.
Your C list is very low priority!  These are tasks that can easily be scheduled after the holidays when life has calmed down. Life will go back to normal, trust me. There will be long winter days ahead when you can tackle all the things you wanted to do in December, 2015. Right now, your focus (as always) should be on THE MAIN THING. And the main thing is getting through the holidays.
2. Schedule short breaks, have a soothing cup of tea. The world won't come to an end, and you're more productive after a brief time-out. Unless you're the leader of the free world, I'm sure you can find fifteen minutes in your busy schedule to decompress. Studies show that a brief, relaxing break can be as helpful to you, mentally and physically, as a one hour nap. The trick is to use this time wisely. Use it for complete relaxation, no worries allowed.
3. Chat with a friend, either in person, by phone or Skype. Taking a respite from your own concerns can do wonders. And that friend can be a furry, four legged one. Did you know that spending fifteen minutes with a beloved pet can slow your pulse, regulate your breathing and lower your blood pressure?                                             
This is one of my own cats, Calpurnia, urging everyone to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the holidays! And as we all know, no one knows how to relax like a cat. Calpurnia roused herself from a nap to wish everyone a happy holiday!
By Mary Kennedy