Preparing for the Holidays

When it comes to getting through the holidays with confidence, you need a plan to keep you on track. Typically, celebrating holidays includes cooking, cleaning, and possibly gift-giving. Is it any wonder how people can become overwhelmed? But you don't have to panic - by following these simple steps, you can breeze through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and every other holiday of the year while keeping your sanity intact.

Keep a calendar handy. Before you even begin making plans, it's important to make sure you are aware of your schedule, so that you know when would be best to accomplish the many errands you have in the coming weeks. Any social obligations you have should be clearly indicated before you accidentally overbook yourself.

Make a list. Starting with the most crucial to the most mundane task you might have on your plate, write down everything you need to complete before the holidays arrive. If you have to, break down the larger tasks (such as cleaning the house) into smaller, more manageable tasks you can finish in a reasonable amount of time without feeling hopeless from the get-go (i.e. pick one day to clean all the toilets, another to scrub the floors, and so on).

Stick to your agenda. Having a daily to-do list is an effective way to balance your priorities without getting distracted. No matter if you work, are home with your children each day, or are attending school, you can easily make a daily list to fit your schedule. As you accomplish your tasks, you can check them off. At the end of the day, you will be amazed at how much more organized and relaxed you feel from planning out your day.

Keep things simple and don't forget to relax. There is nothing worse than burning out because you felt like you can't rest until you have found the perfect gifts, the most appetizing meals, and have the best-looking home on the block.

Truly, holidays should be spent having fun with those whom you love, not stressing out about the details. Fun is crucial to getting through these next several weeks - otherwise your tasks will seem cumbersome before too long.

Listen to music while you clean or have a scavenger hunt with your kids in order to get them to pick up their toys from all over the house. To put it all into perspective so that your preparations don't take over your life, schedule yourself some free time - where you aren't obligated to do anything but relax. It can be a warm bath at the end of the day, a morning jog down the street, or a trip to the spa.

Be flexible. Not only should you be able to ask for help if you find you need an extra pair of hands, but also be mindful of unforeseen circumstances occurring, so that an unfinished task does not lead to your undoing. Life is, after all, unpredictable. As much as we'd like to plan out our every waking moment, it is impossible to know just what will happen from day to day. Therefore, it is wise to have an overall picture of what we have in mind, but be open to the many variables that can affect how we get to that end result.

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