‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? If you’re like a lot of other working moms, the holidays can be a stressful time, no matter how hard we try ( or maybe because we try so hard) to enjoy them. On top of our already packed schedules, somehow we have to squeeze in shopping for gifts, wrapping, decorating, sending cards, baking, holiday parties and family visits. It can be overwhelming. Worse, the holidays fall during the shortest days of the year, which, for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, can spell depression. So what’s a busy working mom to do? Here are some ideas for not only surviving the holidays with your sanity intact, but actually enjoying them. I’ll be exploring each one in detail over the next few weeks.
1. Take care of yourself. The “winter blues”, neglecting workouts, overeating, drinking too much, putting pressure on ourselves to do it all: these things can make us feel awful. On top of that, we feel guilty for feeling awful when we’re “supposed” to be full of tidings of comfort and joy!
2. Prioritize your time and simplify your schedule. When I stayed home with my kids, we made cards from scratch, plates of cookies for everyone we knew, and gave handmade gifts. After returning to work full-time outside the home, I knew something had to give. Also, now that the kids are involved in their own activities, we don’t attend every event. There is such a thing as too many parties.
3. Make the holiday meaningful. For those for whom the holiday has religious significance, maintaining religious tradition is the obvious way to do this. But even non-religious people can find ways to focus on the spirit of giving and sharing love with family and friends, for example by volunteering. Giving gifts that have meaning is another way to reduce the commercial aspect of the season.
Happiness is something we can choose, and there’s no better time to focus on being happy and peaceful than the holiday season. It’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our families.