I am Prepared for This Holiday Season

Sadly, we don’t hear this statement too often in America. More often than not, the holidays stress many people out. The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy. If you cringe when you hear carols in the stores and think of “all the stuff you have to do,” I urge you to do two things #1 ask “what is important to me this holiday season?” And #2 “what can I not do this holiday season?” Consider choosing to do only the things that are important to you and let go of some of the other less enjoyable activities. Forgive yourself if you cannot do it all!

Here are common activities that many people do during the holidays and ideas on ways to reduce the stress.

Common Activity #1: Host meals and parties Do I really want to do this or am I doing it out of obligation?
If yes, then:
1. Inform guests
2. Create the menu
3. Make a shopping list
4. Ask guests to bring a dish
5. Determine what “getting the house ready” means
6. Map out the process using *backwards planning

Common Activity #2: Give gifts Do we want to exchange gifts? Or give gift cards? White-elephant gifts?
If yes, then:
1. Make a list of people to buy for
2. Search for ideas
3. Consider consumable or experience gifts to lessen the clutter
4. Schedule date for wrapping
5. Map out the process using *backwards planning

Common Activity #3: Decorate the house Do you love this activity? If yes, do it! If not, do less it is ok.
1. Select what you love displaying
2. Consider donating holiday items by October 15th so others may enjoy this year
3. Keep it simple. Less may be more.
4. Map out the process using *backwards planning

Common Activity #4: Send out holiday greeting cards If you do this, consider streamlining your process (print address labels).
1. Pick a date to take a picture if you want to send a photo card
2. Select a place where you will order the cards
3. Identify mailing date
4. Purchase stamps
5. Schedule time to write the cards
6. Map out the process using *backwards planning

Common Activity #5: Bake Consider inviting friends/family over to make it fun! Maybe you could give these items as gifts!
1. Make a baking list
2. Purchase ingredients
3. Schedule dates on your calendar
4. Map out the process using *backwards planning

*Backwards planning means to start with what the end product will be and schedule the steps backwards.

• List out what you need to do
• Identify tasks that can be done ahead of time
• Create a schedule and map out what you will do each day/week leading up to the event

By following this strategy you are actively planning and spacing tasks out so that you are not doing everything at the last minute. You may still have some stress and at the same time you will feel more in control.

At the end of the day if you feel yourself getting stressed out either decide not to do OR ask for help from a friend, family member or professional.

Lynne Poulton, Wholly Organized!® LLC