Welcome to December – the month we spend running around like chickens with our heads cut off, all the while trying to enjoy the holiday cheer, AND not to murder the person standing next to you in a coffee line, as the same damn Christmas carol is playing on repeat.
Couples in the holiday posters look deliriously happy in their thick sweaters, as they hold on to mugs of apple cider, and blow on snowflakes, and you wonder what the hell is wrong with you.
Tis’ the season!
Here are three things I will be doing this holiday season to make it a bit more bearable. Feel free to join.
AIM FOR LESS THAN 100% ATTENDANCE
Did you actually enjoy that work party? The food was greasy, the music was too loud, and two of your coworkers got embarrassingly drunk, and starting taking their clothes off. You spent the evening looking at the door.
Just because you are invited does not mean you have to go. Let’s remember this as guests AND as hosts.
I try to maintain a solid 75% attendance to family gatherings, friend things and festive events. Race schedule and travel schedule make it easier – I cannot go to a party if I am out of the country, however, I try to create precedent, where saying no is not out of the ordinary.
If you are the guest, and have trouble saying no, consider what that’s about. This is more about you. If you are the host, who takes rejections personally, ditto.
MANAGE THE DETAILS
Ahead of time, if you can.
Details can include packing for a trip, purchasing gifts, wrapping gifts, sending out invites, making a reservation (pro tip – if you want to go out for dinner for Valentine’s, right about now would be a great time to make that reservation).
Four weeks ago, I scheduled three visits from the cleaning service in town – all two weeks apart, including one visit right before a party we are hosting, giving us less to do. I also arranged for Chef’s Plate meals to be delivered – two meals a week decrease the amount of shopping AND thinking about what to make for dinner.
While cleaning service and meal delivery are not regular occurrences in our house, however, during the holidays, it just… makes sense, AND makes our lives easier.
I also ordered peanut butter and coffee (life staples) on Amazon. They showed up on my door step yesterday.
Just getting through the holiday season can be enough of a challenge for most folks – whether that’s seeing all family members in one place, and wondering if they have noticed that you are fifteen pounds heavier, or driving for nine hours across the province to see your in-laws, or making sure that all presents are bought and wrapped before the Christmas chaos kicks off.
You have had exactly 24 hours in your day few weeks ago. December arrives, and ADDS a whole bunch of things to your plate. Gift shopping, work galas, potlucks, family dinners. All that? Extra! All that – has to come out of the same 24 hours.
So, what will you SUBTRACT? Notice that saying “nothing” does not make mathematical sense… You STILL only have 24 hours. So… what will you consciously give up? How will you adjust expectations? How will you change your own baseline? Consider what is within your control, and what isn’t. Consider what is a deal breaker, and what isn’t.
We decided to forego the Christmas tree and the decorations last year. Yep. Altogether. No tree, no lights. Blasphemy! Except it saved us hours of time, that we chose to do something else.
Working out six days a week, and spending three hours on Sunday meal prep may have been possible in June, but in the busy December weeks, working out three days a week, and breaking up the prep into two or three half an hour chunks may be more realistic.
I like “just do something” approach here. My training may not be optimized or periodized for the next few weeks. But I will do something every day-ish. Hot yoga one day, CrossFit another day, gym visit later in the week, combine friend date with a spinning class, find an online quick workout to do while travelling.
Don’t overthink the “what” right now. Find a way of movement that does not hurt, and do that for twenty minutes a day.
What about you? Any specific strategies that work for you, that I missed above? Let me know.