It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is one week from today! I hate to be generic and say that this year has flown by, but oh my goodness, this year has been a blur. (Is this part of adulting?!) The holidays were such a madhouse last year, and I feel like that momentum didn’t stop and instead just carried into 2016.
Last year I made a concentrated effort not to get caught up in all of the craziness that comes along with the holidays, and while it wasn’t 100% effective, it was definitely a step in the right direction. If you’re trying to navigate the holiday season in the post-grad world, here are some helpful hints that I try to abide by.
Utilize a calendar and view the big picture. I have a really bad habit of looking at my calendar, seeing I’m available on a certain date, and committing to something, then later realizing I have committed myself to something every single day that week. Whether you use outlook, the calendar on your phone, or a paper planner, be sure that you’re scoping out the full week ahead. Not only will this help when it comes to over committing your time, but it also helps when it comes to keeping your finances on track.
Carve out some time for yourself. What are your favorite things about the holiday season? Whatever they are, put them on your calendar and treat them just like you would other plans. You don’t want to realize on December 26th that you didn’t have time to watch Elf. Carving out time for yourself is good for your sanity, and you should never feel guilty for taking time for yourself.
Don’t be afraid to say no. FOMO is a real thing and so is exhaustion. Don’t feel required to go to everything you’re invited to.
Shop early if possible. One of my biggest stressors of the holiday season is finding everyone the perfect gift. I tend to wait until the last minute, which sucks for both my sanity and my bank account. This year, I started early. There are lots of birthdays in my family in October – December, so in September I created a game plan of what everyone was getting for their birthday and Christmas, and then put calendar reminders of which ones to purchase on which pay day. I feel so much more at ease this way.
Eat smart & drink water when you can. I’m all about indulging during the holidays. But I also know that eating a lot of food that isn’t good for me makes me feel gross and sluggish, so I try to plan out my non-holiday party meals. If I know I’ll be helping myself to lots of hors d’oeuvres and a holiday cocktail in the evening, I’ll have something light like a salad or grilled chicken for lunch instead of going for a fast food burger. Being dehydrated is so no fun, so I also try to up my water intake. (I love infusing water with orange slices and cranberries to be festive!)
Keep a little gift stash. This is a little trick I learned from my momma. She has a drawer at her house that has small gifts in it to be used for “gift” emergencies – last minute birthday dinners, holiday gifts, etc. Any time I needed a last minute gift, she always had something good for me to take – decorative wine stoppers, cute coasters, a Bath & Body Works candle, etc., that she had found on super sale somewhere. This will save your sanity when you find out that you need a white elephant gift for a party 15 minutes before you walk out the door or you’re frantic for a last minute hostess gift to pair with your bottle of wine.
Take an opportunity to give back. It’s really easy to forget the true reason for the holiday season. If you have an opportunity to give back, whether it be adopting an angel from the Angel Tree or volunteering your time at a soup kitchen, giving back during the holidays is one of the easiest ways to renew your spirit.
I want to hear from you – How do you keep your sanity during the holidays?!
Happy Thursday, y’all!