Every year around the holidays, no matter what traditions you practice, there is a deep sense of GIVING that suddenly prevails. Canned food, coat and toy drives, gifts for families and friends, cooking, cleaning and preparing for guests. It is a general spirit of goodness that sweeps the nation, bringing us together.
But for many, this season is just as much about surviving as it is about giving. It can be difficult to keep up with all of our regular responsibilities in addition to hosting, visiting, buying and giving. Frankly, the whole thing is exhausting!
Many of our organizing clients feel this kind of overwhelm, and have asked us for our help to stay organized and reduce stress during this time of year.
Here are some of our favorite tips:
Write it Down. Because we have performed some of these traditions year after year, we have a tendency to let them float around in our brain, where they surface to nag at us until we do them. Instead of keeping “Buy gift for Secret Santa” in your brain, write it down. We recommend sitting down and writing ALL of your to do’s for the remainder of the year in one place. Keeping them organized and on paper will do wonders for your mental health.
Prioritize. Once you have your list, break it down. Organize by highlighting items that need to be done immediately in one color, low-priority in another color, etc. Lump all shopping together into like categories so that you can save time and energy by doing them in one stop. By seeing what you need to do, you will be more readily able to eliminate redundancies and wasted time.
Simplify. Make meals in your Crock Pot. Give an experience rather than a thing – such as a gift certificate for a dinner, picnic basket or day away:
You can also shop in stores that offer wrapping services. Brainstorm the ways in which you can press the Easy button this year. Your future self will thank you. Heck, your present self will thank you!
For other clever gift ideas, read “8 Gifts that Don’t Cause Clutter Ideas from a Professional Organizer”.
Delegate. We’ve said it before people, and we’ll say it again. PLEASE do not hesitate to ask for help. That’s what this season is all about, after all. But delegating is more than just asking for help – it’s about telling people when you’ve reached your limit. It really will be ok if you just buy that apple pie instead of making it from scratch. And then congratulate yourself on saving time and energy, instead of beating yourself up over not being Martha Stewart.
Give – to Yourself. When you focus ALL of your energy on other people, your tank will start to slip toward empty. It’s so important to make time each day to refill. This might mean taking a hot bath after everyone is in bed, picking up a book instead of your phone, or taking 30 minutes to work on an organizing project that’s driving you crazy. It’s like in the airplane, when the flight attendant instructs you to put your mask on before assisting others: your generosity will only go so far if you are not taking care of yourself.
The key to surviving and even thriving during the holidays is about intention: if you take the time to be intentional about your choices, you will see that it’s possible to take back the holidays and make them a time of intense joy and FUN, not just about getting things done.