Well, we have Thanksgiving next week and then all of the December Holiday stuff coming up. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. While there’s certainly a lot to be excited about during the holiday season, this can also be the most stressful time of the year. Managing shopping and to-do lists while cooking dinners and staying on top of work is bound to challenge even the greatest of multitaskers.

Is it Beginning to Look a Lot Like Stress to You?

To prevent yourself from experiencing a blue Christmas, grab your Calendar and start making plans. This article will help you feel more prepared for the upcoming holiday season so you can better manage your stress and enjoy the season for all it’s worth. Just remember — you CAN do this holiday stuff. Breathe in some power.

IF some of this advice just sounds like bull__, maybe it is — but read, breathe, think, plan — and get some power for all of this “stuff” we want to do. Anyway, you can if you will.

Tackle Tasks Individually

If you have a lot on your plate, your first thought might be to try and get as much done as you can all at once. While this might sound good in your head, you’re more likely to create complications rather than cross off items from your to-do list. In addition, multitasking actually isn’t that efficient, so you’re better off taking a deep breath and tackling tasks one at a time.

Take a look at your to-do list and organize it based on priority. Take on the more time-sensitive projects first, choosing not to worry about other tasks that aren’t as pressing. Work done your list one bullet point at a time, only moving on to the next item as necessary.

This approach is undoubtedly more methodical and may not be as fast, but you’ll be able to maintain your stress levels even while completing an extra-long holiday to-do list. Of course, the longer you keep your cool, the more efficient you’ll be able to be.

Get Yourself a Gift

Who says you shouldn’t treat yourself over the holidays? Amid all the holiday stress, you certainly deserve to spoil yourself with a personal gift. Your gift to yourself will provide a small boost of motivation or act as an end goal to work toward and make all the stress worth it.

One of the best gifts you can give yourself for the holidays is some personal time. Block out an entire day in your Calendar where you don’t have to worry about wrapping presents, mashing potatoes, or stringing up Christmas lights. Instead, whip up a cup of hot chocolate and turn on your favorite holiday film and use the gift of personal time to recharge your batteries and regain your composure.

Besides, taking some time off during the holidays is to be expected. Even if your place of business is busiest during this time of year, you should stagger some days off with your coworkers to prevent burnout and overwhelming amounts of stress. A shared Calendar will help coordinate days off with your entire team.

Lend a Helping Hand

Lending a hand to someone else might seem contradictory at first, but taking time out of your busy schedule to help other people can actually do wonders for your mental health. Serving others provides a sense of purpose when the rest of your life might seem out of control. Helping others also provides a different perspective which might make you more thankful for what you have.

At the end of the day, helping other people feels good! Nothing will make you smile more than making someone else’s day. Around the holidays, there are plenty of community service activities and events you can add to your Calendar. Try to participate in at least one, even if it’s something small. You might find yourself smiling so wide that you make holiday service an annual tradition.

Maintain Routines as Closely as Possible

During the other 10-11 months of the year, it’s easier to follow a consistent schedule for eating, working, and sleeping. Unfortunately, dozens of holiday activities and responsibilities make it more challenging to maintain those healthy habits you’ve been developing. Nevertheless, try your best to stick to your routines as closely as possible during this time. Routines will keep you grounded and help you prioritize your physical and mental health even with all the craziness surrounding you.

For example, you might feel tempted to stay up way too late wrapping Christmas presents or planning an extravagant Thanksgiving centerpiece. While these are both examples of practical activities, sacrificing your sleep means the following days will be more difficult. So stay true to your sleep routine; being well-rested makes the rest of the holidays much easier to tackle.

Learn to Say No

You don’t have to attend every Christmas party, every movie premiere, and every caroling group this season. Learning to say no is hard, but it will help you establish healthy boundaries and not overwork yourself. If your mental health needs a day off, it’s okay to decline a holiday invitation if it’s in your best interest.

Spending time with family and friends is very important and should be a high priority this time of year. However, you need to notice if you’re stretching yourself too thin. Use your Calendar to balance out your time so that you’re dedicating moments to everyone you care about without putting yourself over the edge. Calendar analytics can further show you how your time is being spent as you optimize your schedule for the holidays and beyond.

Using your Calendar and time management skills will genuinely help make this the most wonderful time of the year. Stress and anxiety can quickly ruin the holiday season for you, so take things slow and lean on those around you to make this holiday season the best one yet.

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