Simple Strategies to Managing Holiday Stress
Okay, maybe I’m overselling our advice here on using simple strategies to manage holiday stress during Covid. I’m not sure that’s possible. BUT, I am going to give you food for thought on simple strategies to better manage holiday To Dos that cause a lot of stress. Now these To Dos could be in your head (Organic Freedoms, Smart Freedoms, Funs) or in an actual To Do list (Organic Structures, Smart Structures, Classics). The first of our simple strategies is to figure out your organizing style.The second of our simple strategies is to assess what creates stress and the third is to ask if there’s a simpler way to do things.
I love most holiday traditions — see above photo picking out a Christmas tree — but I try to keep them simple. I’d love to be that person who cuts down their own tree. But, man that sounds like a chore. So I keep it simple — again see above photo.
By “reassess traditions” I don’t mean to remove decor you love or cut out a holiday tradition. It’s just one of our simple strategies. Rather, I mean winnow down the chore of doing something that doesn’t give you joy so that it’s actually fun. Or frankly, just figure out an easier way to do a chore. For me, a Classic who doesn’t love baking, Christmas cookies are often stress inducing. They’re a chore. There are years I love baking holiday cookies and years I dread it and give in purely because my kids begged me.
Here’s my simple strategy to making this chore easier for me. I buy Cheryl’s Christmas cookies because they taste REALLY similar to mine. Then I buy some local ones that are beyond my culinary skills. If I have time and I want to do it, I bake Christmas cookies. But, there’s no pressure either way and somehow removing that pressure often leads me to WANT to bake Christmas cookies. Plus, those Cheryl cookies are individually wrapped and freeze really well.
My long winded point is figure out what it is that’s needling you (Christmas tree pun intended). Then be bold and solve it by asking, “Is there an easier way??”.
Typical Classic Solution (Not one of our simple strategies per se)
Okay, so buying Christmas cookies is an obvious solution. Other times, it requires more reflection. Perhaps the most stressful thing about Christmas for me used to be my Christmas Card Task. The list caused me so much stress at year-end. Some people might say just forget the whole Christmas Card Task altogether. But I couldn’t. That’s not who I am.
Instead, I started to wonder what stressed me out about it. I realized it was (1) fixing the address list every year (2) the sheer size of the list and (3) addressing the envelopes. With fixing addresses, it was SO annoying to reach out to people and wait for a new address. It kept me from finishing a To Do which is PAINFUL to Classics like me. I also realized that I was sending more cards than I was receiving. I thought, “Maybe I can cut down how many I send and that’ll make things easier.”
My solution — incredibly Classic as it’s detailed and specific SO everyone else, finish this sentence and then skip to the last sentence — was that as cards came in, I saved the envelopes instead of tossing them. After I dismantled Christmas decor, I took my great pile of envelopes and cross referenced them. I flagged “Return to Sender” addresses (sometimes this was throughout the year), noted who sent me a card and then changed the addresses that were wrong. I didn’t cross off too many people from my list initially (some people don’t send them but enjoy getting our holiday “hello”) but over time, I noticed that a few people who used to send cards just didn’t anymore. No harm, no foul. But I didn’t need to keep sending them cards. Finally, I started to pay up for Minted to address the envelopes for me. It’s worth every penny to me.
Figure Out Your Way
In a million years, my sister and co-founder, Katie McMenamin, an Organic Freedom would NEVER do any of the above. But she could ask herself the same questions. This is one of the simple strategies that works for every type. What is making this project so stressful? In this example, maybe it’s the same things that stressed me out. So instead of my intricate address list process, just hold on to that pile of holiday card envelopes. Put a rubber band on it, pop it in Christmas storage and grab it when the next year roles around and the information is all there waiting for you.
Finally, I’d recommend to any type that can to pay up for digital printing of addresses. In this example, that’s a key way to make the Christmas Card Task easier. But if that’s not possible, make it fun. I often treat myself to a great holiday movie when addressing envelopes. It wasn’t easier but it was more enjoyable.