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Stay Sane Through the End of the Year

This is can be a very stressful time of the year. Suddenly we're struck by how fast the year went and how little time is left. We think about the things that we had planned to do but didn't this year. We think about all the things we need to do before Christmas & wanted to do before the end of the year. We feel overwhelmed.

We need to decorate, buy gifts, wrap gifts, buy new clothes for the parties we'll be attending. We need to grocery shop, cook, and bake. We need to create and send out holiday cards, finalize holiday plans, make an appearance at the kids' school, volunteer at church or local charity, and remember to move that damn elf EVERY night.

We know that something's got to give this month and it's probably going to be our well-being. We accept that. This time of the year is crazy. We don't have time to workout and there are too many tempting foods and drinks to consume. We're stressed and not getting enough sleep. We tell ourselves that we'll just "get through the holidays" and get back on track after the new year.

That's one route to take. It's the route most of us take every December. What if we took a new route this year? Not a COMPLETELY different route, but one that doesn't let us get so far off track.

Each night, make a list of what you need to do the next day. Pick out the top 3 that MUST get done. You have more than three each day? I know, me too. But, do YOU have to do all of them? Can you divide tasks with your spouse, sibling, friend?

What about your kids—are they old enough to do some chores that will alleviate what you need to do? This is the perfect time to get them to help out, as they are anticipating getting rewarded for being "good" in just a few weeks.

Yes, they will most likely not load the dishwasher, clean up their room, fold the laundry, etc. as you would have. But, guess what? Those are NOT things that need to be done perfectly. Those are not things you need to worry about now (if ever). Do NOT redo what they have done sub-parly. Next time, give them more specific directions or give them another task to do.

Focus on your priorities, get them done, & you'll feel so much better getting into bed. You'll feel much more productive and less stressed than if you had spent the day doing those little tasks and still had the big things hanging over your head.

Do NOT put yourself at the bottom of the priority list each day! Make sure you take care of your health. You'll be even MORE stressed if you get sick and can't do anything on your list! You can do small things: drink lots of water, get enough sleep, take a walk around the block, stretch or do a short workout.

The next 2 1/2 weeks are going to go by quickly, but they don't need to be a chaotic blur. Stay focused, enlist support and ring in the new year with a smile rather than a sigh of relief :)

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