In a year like 2020, the holiday season could be one of a few things, a terrific distraction, a welcome refuge, a massive disappointment, or an additional load of stress. Some women love the holidays, some dislike them, some have good memories, and some have difficult ones. Whatever your feelings are surrounding the holidays, we certainly do not need them to become another source of stress!
My keyword for this year's holiday season is S I M P L I F Y.
Since we are not entertaining anyone but those in our covid-safe circle, I am trying to put my A-type personality's penchant for perfectionism out to pasture. The house doesn't have to be perfectly decorated or perfectly clean. Now, being brutally honest, my idea of perfectly clean is not Mary Poppins, spit spot clean. Truth be told, I have never been much of a housekeeper, always preferring to put my energies elsewhere. Toilets and bathrooms clean, check, grit off the floor, check, counters clean, check. But—all picked up everything put away in its place? I'm letting it slide. Late dinner dishes still in the sink in the am? I'm letting it slide. Folding the laundry warm from the dryer? I'm letting it slide. These chores will get done by everyone, eventually.
Holiday Meals. Subtract two dishes from the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas DInner menus and put them into another night's menu. We don't have to have all our favorite foods in one night. It reduces expenses, prep time, and clean up.
I'm enlisting everyone's help in cooking and cleaning up. Well, more like conscripting everyone into KP duty. Many hands make light work; we can have good conversations, and we can make new memories when cooking as a team. Also, this way, I don't feel resentful that I am doing the lioness's share of the work with no help from the pride.
Gift shopping. Any gifts that I am giving this year will likely be purchased online. I have asked everyone to get me their lists ASAP. Keep it simple. If the delivery date is delayed, put a photo of it in a box. It's then is a gift that gets opened twice!
Whether you live in a big family, a small one, with friends or alone, plan some things you like doing. Get out in nature and take walks. Nature is healing to the stressed-out psyche. Make holiday cookies together while listening to your favorite holiday music—when they are cool— share them with your neighbors. Watch a favorite classic movie together. Play. Do something just for the joy of it, often.
Help others. If you can, donate to your local food bank. Check on elderly or single neighbors safely. Make handmade holiday cards and give them out or mail them.
Buy, borrow, or download a good book. Turn off the TV, put down your devices (unless it's your kindle app), and immerse yourself in a good story. You'll escape the daily tensions.
If the thought of doing it stresses you out, delegate it to someone else or remove it from your holiday to-do list.
Finally, it is never too soon to begin to think about next year. What do you want to do, accomplish, change, transform, or eliminate from your life? Midlife and menopause are big enough without going through them during a pandemic, social unrest, and a contentious election. What do you want to do with your next chapter? After the first of the year, I'll be launching new classes and programs to help you rediscover your true north. After my experience crossing this territory, I vowed no woman would ever have to travel that territory alone again. Subscribe to my email to stay in the know and to receive early registration discounts and information.
I am sending you my best wishes for a joy-filled holiday and a healthy and Happy New Year! Stay safe and sound.