Sunday, December 11, 2016

Top 5 Tips to Enjoy this Season

Whether you're single or married, have children or don't, this time of year can be absolutely crazy!!  I know that when I'm not careful, I get so stressed out over little things and end up not enjoying the moments.  I've been making it my intention this December to not let myself get too caught up in 'everything else,' and to really be happy amongst the chaos.  It is so important that I enjoy this season of our little kids and the season itself.  I want to create positive and happy memories for our children, not having them remember how frantic mommy was this time of year.  For me, having one in preschool was a game changer.  My loosey goosey schedule is a thing of the past and we now have to work in a few outside activities.   I quickly got myself together and figured out ways to keep happy.

Here are my top five ways I am keeping my cool this Christmas season.

1.  Plan Ahead.

It's a must.  I wish I had planned out my meals for the whole month like my friend Cathy, but if you can't plan monthly then at least do it weekly.  I also am trying to get better about looking at my day ahead, so that I am not totally blindsided (like I was last week!)  What can you plan ahead?  Date nights, shopping trips, menus, "down time/family time"--yes, schedule it in, holiday parties, school functions, workouts, grocery store runs, time to wrap presents.  The more you map out what is left to do and when you'll be able to do it, it's so much easier.  My problem is that I have my phone, my day planner and the family fridge calendar.  I have to get better at making sure all 3 are lined up.  I tend to remember things more if I actually write them, so that is why I refuse to give up my written calendars.  "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

2. Stay present.

When I start getting all uppity and such, I realize I need to focus: family, faith, friends.  Maybe that means putting down my phone and picking up the big camera.  Take some good photos of the kids this size.  Or maybe it means put away all cameras and just be there, playing, singing, laughing, eating, whatever with them.   We didn't take a single photo of us decorating the tree; in a way I was sad, but I am actually happy that we all enjoyed that time together so much, a photo was forgotten to be had.  Don't allow yourself to worry about what is to happen; the cookies will get made, the toys will be wrapped, the shopping we get done.  Just breathe in the moment.   Don't let yourself slip down what should have happened either, that's not going to change or fix anything.  Just focusing on where you are at and being happy, will help you de-stress instantly.

3.) Ignore the noise.

What noise am I talking about?  Well there is the adorable noise of the kids trying to sing/scream all the Christmas songs, (I usually try to applaud from the next room over!) but I'm talking about that extra noise.  The noise of others who don't intentionally make you feel bad, but after seeing all of their perfect holiday cards, it makes you think twice about your cheesy iphone one.  The girl on FB who always gets to wear gowns and looks like a movie star every weekend at holiday soirees.  The mom with six kids whose house is always neat as if she has a maid.  The younger friend who is out having fabulous cocktails with all of her friends.  The Martha Stewart on instagram who bakes and coordinates every little detail that makes you want to run to the store and re-create so your house can look that cozy.  Do not let social media steal your happiness.  If you start feeling jealousy while scrolling it's time to put down the phone/tablet/computer and do something different.  We all share our highlights and there is no faster way to steal your joy than starting to play the comparison game.

4.) Have fun.

What is it about this time of year that makes you smile?  For me it's the childhood memories of baking cookies.  I remember my mom would have her girlfriends over and they'd make different cookies and swap.  I used to do a cookie party before I had kids, but then it got too big and having kids made it tricky.  I'd like to start that up again one day!  This year I have already made 3 different kinds of cookies with the kids and Brooke is having so much fun helping me.  I put on some Christmas music and we just make a big old mess and make some delicious cookies.  If you're not into baking, maybe it's driving or walking around looking at lights/decorations.  Maybe it's just listening to Christmas music.  Binge watch a few Hallmark movies (while you fold laundry or wash dishes!) Or if you're crafty, go to Michael's or checkout Pinterest for a holiday DIY.  The kids love getting creative and your house looks super cute.  What's the point of this time of year if you're not taking time to do what you love?  December only comes once a year.  Enjoy it!

5.) Be grateful.

I have to say, this has been the biggest help lately.  As soon as I'm having a rough day, I will try to snap myself out of the funk.  I make myself think of 3 things I am grateful for.  It's hard to be unhappy when you start to train your mind to think of all that makes you smile.  I really am trying to write them down in the morning or at night, but at the very least I say them out loud.  Sometimes it's when I walk the dog, so I don't have anything to write it down on...but I quickly become humbled and remember all that we have.  Right now, say three things you are grateful for today.

I am grateful for my cozy slippers, this time to blog and this delicious vanilla spiced tea with Rumchata.  Nothing crazy or fancy, but I am so thankful this is my moment right now!!  

Remember to breathe, catch those snowflakes on your tongue with your tot, and enjoy that piece of gingerbread cookie.  Of course, voice texting to your best girlfriends who get you it also quite essential, but that's just a given.  It is the most wonderful time of the year, so let it be.

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