holiday stress smWe all dread the rush and chaos that can rule our lives during the holidays. Surveys show that 40 percent of people find work-life balance to be impossible this time of year and say they end up missing the chance to spend time with family and friends during the holidays. Often the job of making it all come together perfectly falls on women.

So how do you survive a whirlwind month of office parties, family get-togethers and gift giving and still find the time to truly enjoy the holidays? Here's a game plan in five steps:

1. Create a firewall between work and personal time. Being focused throughout the day will help you accomplish more. That means no online shopping when you're at the office and shutting off the work email or phone when you should be spending time with your family. You might even specify times each day or days of the week when you'll focus solely on work or family life.

2. Consider alternatives to those traditions.  Can your sister-in-law or your adult children take over hosting the family holiday meal? Maybe you can order parts of the meal for restaurant carryout or from the grocery store deli. And reconsider those annual plans for long-distance travel during the holiday season. The technology that's built into your smart phone can create a free virtual get-together with faraway family. You can plan a visit when it's not the busiest travel time of the year.

3. Find ways to scale back some of your holiday. If you want to keep your sanity until the new year, ask yourself if you need to attend every party, wrap every gift and prepare every holiday dish like you've always done. Explain the changes to others and don't worry about disappointing people. Your family will appreciate you being fully present more than any meal you cook or party you plan.

4. Get the rest you need.  You need adequate sleep to deal with the extra physical and psychological stress of the holidays. If that means leaving the festivities early, then do it. Burning the midnight oil to accomplish everything will only leave you exhausted when you should be enjoying time with friends and loved ones.

5. Practice saying “No.” This is good advice all year long, but it's even more important in the next few weeks. Taking on more tasks or accepting every invitation simply because someone has asked is unfair to you and to the people who want to spend quality time with you during the holidays. Be generous with your time when you can, but keep enough of it for yourself, too.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax