The most wonderful time of the year. Ha! More like the fastest, make everyone happy, buy all the gifts, do all the things, time of the year. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big holiday season and Christmas time fan, I just really dislike the EXPECTATIONS and pressure I so often feel this time of the year.
Have I sent out my Christmas cards? Nope. I have a two year streak of not quite getting to them now going. Do I feel bad about it? A little disappointed to be honest. Will I beat myself up because of it? No way. It's a thing. It didn't happen. The sun will rise again tomorrow. IT'S OOOKKKK. We can get so caught up in everything we SHOULD be doing and forget to enjoy the things that are HAPPENING. Life. Right here, right now.
So I wanted to share I wanted to share 10 ideas to help you slow down this holiday season because it really is a magical time of the year. So, here. we. go!
1. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
Please, please, please put your phone down. My gosh people, don't you see life is happening right here? Ok, I say this with love and also sincerely. Yes, I'm calling you out. No, I'm not perfect at this, not even in the slightest, but I DO know how much anxiety I get from feeling like I have to capture, document, and share every moment of my life.
Set boundaries and stick with them. Know that it's OK to put your phone down. Necessary even. Don't get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Focus on being right where you are! I like to set a night time limit for phone use and also keep them out of the bedroom.
2. BE PRESENT
Pause. Look around. Listen. Feel. Be right where you. Take a few deep breaths and a few moments each day to be fully alive. Remember, this is your life. Don't just get through this time of the year. Slow down for it and make it a time you'll remember.
Two ideas that always help me are to 1. write down what I'm thankful for and 2. ask whoever I'm with what their favorite part of the day was. It's a way to reflect on the goodness of the day and always a fun conversation.
3. DO A BRAIN DUMP
Put it alllll down. Grab a piece of paper and pencil and do a massive brand dump. Write down anything and everything that is on your mind. Little, big, or something for in the future, get it all down. Then, prioritize and schedule in those things that absolutely have to get done and put the rest on hold.
Writing it all down gives it a place to live besides your brain. And if you're anything like me all of your ideas and things you need to do are doing laps inside your head and it's exhausting. Get it all down, clear some space in your mind, prioritize, and come back to it when you have less on your plate!
4. TRY THESE 3 CRAZY SIMPLE RECIPES
Is the food thing stressing you out? Try one or all of these 3, simple and delicious recipe ideas.
EVERYONE'S FAVORITES MEATBALLS
These are two ingredients and you're guaranteed to get asked for the recipe. Buy frozen meatballs from the grocery store and a jar of roasted red pepper alfredo sauce (like this!). Mix them in a crockpot until the meat is cooked and voila! Delicious meatballs in no time!
I LOVE this recipe but I do it a little different each time. Here is an example to follow if you're a recipe follower, otherwise do your own thing!
Get a package of croissants or some sort of pastry and roll it out on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Put a wheel of brie in the middle and top with honey, jam, and almonds. Fold the pastry up and press the edges together. Brush egg on the croissant and bake for 15-25 minutes at 350. Enjoy with crackers!
Look fancy with minimal effort by making a beautiful charcuterie board! Check out Cheese by Numbers for some inspiration. The best part is you can make it however you'd like! Grab 2 kinds of cheese, 2 kinds of meat, some nuts, some fruit, maybe some olives and some crackers and BAM! A beautiful board that everyone can enjoy!
5. GO OUTSIDE
I know I know, I say it often but it's so true. Give yourself time to be out in nature. The fresh air and exercise will do you good. Getting out of the house is always a good thing but sometimes it's necessary when there are lots and lots of people. Feeling overwhelmed by everyone? Announce that you're going on a walk around the. block and ask if others want to join. Ooorrr just sneak out on your own and spend some time in solitude. Either way,
leave your phone behind (ahem, idea #1...) and go enjoy the world all around you!
6. MAKE SURE YOU'RE GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
Simple but true. If you need a nap, gol dang it go and take a nap! Make sure you are taking care of yourself and getting enough sleep. Let's be real, no one likes a crabby (insert your name here). I know you want to do it all but remember you don't have to. Just make sure sleep is at the top of your list.
7. SAY NO
It's ok to say no. It's hard, but it's ok. If saying yes to all of the things has you stressing out, start saying no. Think back on your favorite Christmas memories and what you want on the list again for this year and then......get rid of everything else!
When I'm trying to decide what I want and don't want to do, I think of my future self and what I'd be happy with or if I'll regret anything. I imagine myself in, oh maybe January, saying either "I'm so glad I went to that holiday party with my coworker and met some new friends!" or "I'm so glad I stayed home and didn't stress about that holiday party." Then I do the one I know I'm going to be most happy with. I'm all for saying yes to things but one of the best things you can learn to do is say no.
8. SET UP GIFT GUIDELINES
I really hate the pressure that comes with gifts. I'm always worried about what the other person is going to get me and if what I'm getting them is "enough". Of course it is! No one should be disappointed by gifts but unfortunately, sometimes they are. The older I've gotten the clearer I am on the gifts I am or am not giving. I don't like the "oh, well I thought of you and got you this thing." Nope, if that happens then I let them know I got them something so they're not thrown off guard. I've been surprised before and felt so silly for not having something for them.
Set guidelines for the gifts you'll be giving and be transparent with it. Just remember, the best gift that you can give someone is your time. Show up. Be present. Talk. Laugh. Ask questions. And enjoy this special times with the ones you love.
9. ASK THIS QUESTION
"What are two big things happening in your life?" I love to ask this question even when it's not the holiday season. 1. It's a great conversation starter 2. It allows the person to define "big things" in their own terms and 3. It gives them a quantifiable number to talk about.
When you ask someone "How's life, what's new?" oh man! How many times have we heard "Umm nothing much." "Things are good." "Same old same old." Ehhh. Wrong. Life is way more exciting than we give it credit for. Ask this question andI think you'll be excited by the conversations you have.
10. REMEMBER, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW
You were going to bake 4 kinds of cookies and only got around to making 1? No big! Only YOU know that. You were going to buy a new runner and decorate the house but didn't get to it? Don't worry, only YOU know that. You wanted to release a new blog post, get another round of editing done, and call your Grandma before Tuesday....but didn't? That's. O. K. No one else knows that. Give yourself a break, do that brain dump mentioned in idea #3, and remember only YOU know the expectations you had in your head. Pat yourself on the back for what you HAVE accomplished and keep living a life you're proud of.
Ok my friend, there you have it, 10 ideas to help you slow down this holiday season. Let's live a life we're excited about and start by slowing down and showing up for it.
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