Planning Ahead for Some You Time This Holiday Season

We know it’s a bit horrifying to even mention the words “holiday season” so far in advance of the actual events. I mean, we haven’t even put away our sun block and flip-flops yet.

However, as we all know from experience, if you wait until the “most wonderful time of the year” is fully in swing, everything gets very hectic very quickly and it’s too late to try to plan in any “you time.” (And we all remember just how much you desperately crave any type of “me time” during the holidays.) Unless you think ahead and try to carve out some small windows to keep (or regain) your sanity, chances are you will finish the year chewed up, spit out and utterly exhausted.

Sarah on “Why now?”

As life gets more complicated and busy, it becomes harder and harder to take moments for yourself or simply to get together with friends on the spur of the moment. There’s always a squeaky wheel demanding your attention (and we all know, you’re not squeaking at yourself)! The only way to actually able to be ‘spontaneous’ is to plan for it. I used to really struggle with this concept. But now I simply take the time to dream a bit about what fun things I might want to do together with my husband, my child, my friends – or just by myself. And I keep a running list of the ideas I come up with in my journal and then make them happen by incorporating them into schedules well in advance.

Alicia on “Look Ahead to Likely Pinch Points”

Look ahead over the next few months and identify times when you’re likely to be stretched to the max. Schedule some you time right now in the midst of that chaos. It doesn’t have to be big – it can be something like a manicure or a meditation class at the local YWCA. For me this year, I know I’m going to need a sanity saving “me moment” in-between hosting my in-laws for Thanksgiving and then a trek across the country to visit my mom who is ailing. I’ve already booked an hour-long massage in between those visits.

Here’s a few key ways to prepare yourself for the holidays, so you can actually enjoy the holidays.

#1. Identify your own pinch points

Where are you likely to be stressed out in the next few months? A good starting point is to think back and remember last holiday season and the times you came to a breaking point. (That time you almost threw a turkey leg at your husband…) Then think ahead. Are you hosting family for one of the holidays? Are you packing everyone up for a big trip? Will you be in charge of the turkey? Once you know when you’re going to be stressed, you can plan for some fun or relaxing time to alleviate the craziness and add some normalcy.

#2: Dream

We all have a different “Calgon, Take Me Away!” moment where, in the middle of the chaos, we picture ourselves in a peaceful, serene setting. Where is it that you imagine yourself? Take a moment to dream a bit. Are you at a day spa? Are you with your family in the park? Are you at the movies with a friend? Put the ideas in the margin of your to-do list today. Remember, these ideas don’t have to cost any money. Take it from us, a relaxing hour just soaking in the tub, or a few hours reading a book by a fire, are enough to revitalize even the most burned out soul.

#3: Schedule

OK, you now know what you want to do to soothe your future self. Now schedule it! Ideally pick one thing for each pinch point. If you only have one activity you can think of – or you know you will only have time for one “you” thing – that’s ok. The trick is to schedule the time for it right now. Don’t ask us why, but the longer it is on your schedule the harder it gets to cross off. Make it a priority on your to-do list today! You’ll thank us, and yourself, for thinking so far in advance.