Family. Cooking. Baking. Shopping. Santa. Entertaining. Traveling. Working. Mommin' 24/7.... How’s your stress level right now, Mama? We all know deep down in our hearts that there is so much beauty in the festivities and holiday season, but let’s be honest, it is also a time that brings out high stress, anxiety and overwhelm - financially, physically, and mentally.
So what's a mama to do that's feeling all the feels when it comes to anxiety and stress? Stop and breathe. No, really…you've already invested in a little quiet time for yourself by reading this, so close your eyes and take ten deep breaths in and out.......Seriously, stop reading this and do it. Now :)
Okay, how did that feel to pause, just for a second, and take care of yourself a little bit? Yes, even just committing to a moment where you take 10 deep breaths is self-care.
Motherhood is stressful and tough, but so are you.
Remember to pause amongst the chaos and breathe.
Unplug. Be present. Remember to enjoy the real moments, undocumented.
Exercise. Even if it's just committing to go on a quick 10 minute walk.
Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Rest; get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. (Get off that iPhone!)
You are doing a great job. You are an incredible mother.
You are are enough. You've done enough. Your holidays will be magical.
With that, we wanted to make a little checklist to help keep you sane this holiday season, while also keeping the holiday season merry and bright...
How To Stay Sane Through The Holidays
1. Exercise - even when it feels like you don't have time...
Even if all you have is 5 minutes to spare, get outside and get some fresh air! Is your weather frightful? Get some cardio in at the mall while holiday shopping! Park a little further away from the entrance (which you'll probably have to, anyway). Bring your grocery cart back inside of the store to get some extra steps in. PLAY with your kiddos! Yes, put away your phone and go jump in puddles, play catch, or run around at the park with your little one(s). Schedule a yoga class or pop over to your local FIT4MOM class (find one here!). Can't break away from your kiddos while they're on holiday break? Strap them in your BOB Stroller and go on an adventure!
2. Make a list, and check it twice!
Give yourself about 10 minutes to write out everything that's on your mind - who do you have to shop for this holiday season? What do you want to make for school lunches and dinners this week? Make your grocery list. Make your Santa list. PS - make sure to add in seeing friends this holiday season; other moms and friends like family remind us of what this magical time of year is all about - love, laughter, and holiday spirit! Making a couple lists can help you feel less anxious and overwhelmed (and avoid forgetting something!)
3. Create a holiday budget
How much are you prepared to spend this holiday season? Make a list of all the gifts and things you need to buy and assign how much you plan to spend. Consider doing secret Santas within your big family so you can buy for one or 2 people instead of 10, for example... or consider putting price limits on gift exchanges to keep you from going over budget. A thoughtful gift goes a long way, and feeling financially responsible = less stress or guilt.
4. Order ahead - WWAPD (What Would Amazon Prime Do?!)
What gifts can you buy ahead of time? Set a goal date to have all shopping done, especially if you have to mail things to someone out of state! What did we do before Amazon Prime?! But, seriously, though....
5. Donate & declutter
Use the time before the holidays to clean up and clean out. Donate non-perishable foods that you don’t need to a food bank. Donate gently used toys and clothes to a shelter. Giving back makes you feel good, too! And having an organized, clean house during the holiday season makes all moms extra merry & bright.
5. Schedule self-care and make it a non-negotiable to-do
SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH. Repeat after me: SELF CARE ISN'T SELFISH! Okay, now that we have your attention, please, Mama, do not put yourself last this season. The holidays can swallow you up! What daily rituals should you maintain during this holiday season? What can you do to make yourself feel less run-down, less stressed, and more like YOU? And the healthy, happy, best version of you? Do whatever makes your soul shine, and do not feel guilty about it! Even if it's something as small as a warm shower where you get to shave your legs in silence or while listening to Christmas music - do it! Ask your family and friends for help if you need a babysitter to schedule time for you. It will make you a better mama when you feel emotionally well.
6. Don't be shy or feel like you're a burden....ask for help when you need it
It takes a village. Don’t be afraid to ask your neighbor to pick up milk when she’s at the market if you ran out during the middle of making a recipe. Ask your family to help watch your little(s) if you need some extra time to wander the aisles of Target or walk up and down every aisle of the grocery store. Also, ask your guests to help when you host if you're feeling overwhelmed by a large menu. Hosting an ugly Christmas sweater party or a Hanukkah or Christmas Eve celebration? Make it a potluck! Have friends and family all bring an app or side. Don't be afraid to make your life easier. PS - Don't want to host because you dread the prep and clean up? Ask someone else to host, or make what you can ahead of time or use paper plates and plasticware. Remember, life is NOT Pinterest. Real life is just that...real. Doesn't have to be for the 'gram : )
7. Remember, it's okay to say “no.”
Make boundaries and stick to them. Don't have time to get holiday cards out this year? It's okay! Find it impossible to make every work event or family function? You don't have to say yes to everything, and it's perfectly okay to say no! In fact, to stay sane during the holiday season, you're going to have to say no to some things. That doesn't mean you aren't organizing your time well or hurting people's feelings - it means you're putting yourself and your emotional and physical needs first and foremost, and that's the greatest gift you can give yourself.
8. SLOW DOWN and just be...
When we get overwhelmed, it can be easy for our hearts to shrink 3 sizes too small and start to resemble the Grinch....What recharges your soul when you feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed? How about the next time you feel like you need a break, YOU TAKE ONE?? Deal? Play some festive music, light your favorite scented candle or turn on your diffuser with something relaxing...set the mood of PEACE. Meditate. Read a book. Go for a walk. Take your family to look at Christmas lights. Bake some cookies. Breathe. Do whatever you need to so that you can enjoy the holidays as much as everyone around you does because of YOU and your hard work. Give back to yourself; remember, 'tis the season of giving (and yes, even for you!)
Want more tips to stay sane? Here are a few other recommendations by our Founding Mama, Lisa:
- If sending gifts via mail, go to the post office ahead of time and get boxes and tape early so you're prepped and prepared when it comes time to start wrapping and mailing gifts out.
- Research delivery and shipping deadlines and policies ahead of time; Amazon, USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc...
- Schedule in a holiday bucket list. Put it in your calendar to do festive activities with your family, friends, or just yourself.
- Take a few hours to declutter. Thanksgiving leftovers still lurking in the fridge two weeks after the holiday? Get them out! Toss out expired condiments, baked goods, etc.
- Take a little time to make a little room in your life by making a simple to-do list.
- Make and freeze meals ahead of time so you have things to eat or serve to your family even if you've been out late holiday shopping or are putting in overtime at work.
- Remember to create a family tradition and stick to it!
- Don't hold yourself to sending out Christmas cards if it's too overwhelming with all the other holiday hustle and bustle; it’s okay to send New Year’s cards! There are many apps or online sites that make sending e-cards or paper cards pretty easy!
Find more tips to get out of overwhelm in The Empowered Mama,
on sale now at empoweredmamabook.com!