There probably isn’t a child in America who isn’t looking forward to Christmas. After all, the big retailers have been adding shelves to the toy section since before Halloween--making sure we remember Santa is indeed coming to town. (As though we could possibly forget!)

There probably isn’t a child in America who isn’t looking forward to Christmas. After all, the big retailers have been adding shelves to the toy section since before Halloween--making sure we remember Santa is indeed coming to town. (As though we could possibly forget!)

For us grownups these next few weeks can get hectic, even a little (okay, maybe a lot) crazy. There’s the usual work. If you’re in retail, that could mean longer hours. If you’re not in retail that means getting ready to close out the books for the end of the year. No matter what business you’re in, the holidays bring added responsibility and challenges.

Then, there’s all the extra shopping after work. Social engagements make a two-day weekend more like a two-day scramble to juggle even more activities. And there’s the kids. They have their added stressors too. And their activities add more to your plate.

Much as we look forward to the holidays, there is also that certain dread. How do we accomplish all the added “to do’s” while keeping joy for the season? In theory it’s simple. In truth, it takes some work and a conscious resolve. Here are some handy tips:

  • Remember , it’s never “Just” Think about it. When you offer to make that phone call to check on a date for the company holiday gathering, it’s never “just” one phone call. Invariably, the people you need to speak to are not in, or don’t have the answer to your question, or, worse yet, they’re on vacation...out of the country even. There you go...another phone call...and another...and.... It’s never “just” a phone call, a quick stop, or a short email.
  • Just say “No” I know, I said it’s never “just.” We don’t like to say “no.” We want to make everybody happy. We want to be the super mom (or dad, or boss). It’s because we don’t say “no” that we get out of balance. We set ourselves up to be a grinch. Bottom line is, you’re not being fair to yourself or those you love if you don’t learn to say “no.”
  • Stay in the moment Go ahead and make that list of things that must get done. Then, chose a task and do it. Don’t worry about all the other things on the list. Stay in the moment with one task at a time. Stressing over the list won’t get it done any sooner--but it can rob you of the joy in the task at hand.
  • Take time for yourself The holidays are for all of us to enjoy. And, all of us must take some individual responsibility for the joy we find in the season. You deserve that cup of hot cocoa at the end of the day as you watch the lights on the tree. You deserve an extra 10 minutes at the gym.
  • Keep it simple Yes, we want the holidays to be special for those we love. But remember, it’s not about how much you spend or how much you give (or get). Rather, it’s about sharing--sharing your time with those you love. Keep the demands you place on yourself to a minimum.

The holidays are a true test as to how well we balance work with all the activities that present themselves. Joy comes when we make a conscious effort to structure our time so that it allows us to actually feel joyous.


By Alex Ashley

Alex Ashley is completing her final semester at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. She graduates in December with a Masters in Education, Workforce Development. She works at Shannon Nelke CPA firm in Ft. Smith. As the mom of 3 she knows a thing or two about juggling work, family and time for herself.

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