Happy holidays! Although this is a generally a cheery time of year, the adjective “happy” may not be the first that comes to mind. The holidays can also be busy, stressful, draining, and financially burdensome — the list goes on and on. Let’s face it; this season can feel like full-on chaos. Throw in work responsibility, schedule switch-ups, and social pressures, and you’re likely to meet the greeting “happy holidays!” with a grimace and an eye roll.
No judgment here — we all inevitably feel a little (or a lot) like this when this time of year rolls around. It’s completely natural to feel unsettled when the structure of your day-to-day is out of whack. Luckily, there are ways to work through this shift.
Would you believe us if we said: it’s possible to go with the flow AND get stuff done? Keep reading to find out how to hack it this holiday season.
Lean on Routine
The word “routine” tends to have a bad rap — but why? When most people think of routine, they think of more rules. While this conceptisstructure-based, the intention is definitely not meaning restriction.
As stated in one of our past blogs, Routine: The Secret Ingredient to Every Polymath's Lifestyle, routine is not a punishment. In fact, it’s the opposite of purgatory — it’s a surefire route to WAY more personal freedom.
Routine keeps chaos from taking over. It can bring a substantial amount of comfort and certainty to your life when things are feeling a little out of control. Structure equals simplicity — it can take a lot of guesswork out of the equation.
When we say “guesswork,” we essentially mean time spent spinning wheels. We’ve all been there — the unorganized, anxiety-inducing brain pacing that, in reality, is hardly productive. Mix in negative self-talk, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
A solid routine eliminates all of that noise. 👏 A little planning ahead of time and steady (not stressful) determination is the stuff that will ultimately let you exhale.
Your Habits are Your Home Away From Home
When we say routine, we don’t necessarily mean a by-the-minute itinerary. Keeping up with routine can be as simple as staying true to a few helpful habits.
Word to the wise — choose your habits carefully. Over time, they become a big part of you and the way you experience this crazy world.They can even be a reflection of your values and how you choose to contribute in this lifetime! Most importantly, our habits are for us — they can keep us safe, lead us to self-improvement, and bring feelings of deep joy and comfort. Habits give us a sense of being grounded, no matter where we go or what we’re up to.
Habits create familiarity in otherwise unfamiliar situations, making them extremely pertinent during the holidays. If you’re traveling, involved in new situations, and feeling scrambled throughout the season, keeping up with elements of consistency every day will do a lot for your overall sense of wellbeing.
Less Pressure, More Prioritizing
To build on our last point, structure and planning for perfection are not the same thing. You don’t have to be militant about how you map out your schedule — sometimes, success means getting a little more clever about how you accomplish your must-do’s.
If you’re someone who can’t take a hiatus from your job during the holidays, the pressure to balance your personal and professional calendars is undoubtedly very real. In this case, getting everything done WHILE frolicking through holiday cheer may just be impossible. This, my friend, is where prioritization comes in.
Before you put on the pressure to be a superhero and do it all, first take a step back and come up with a reasonable plan. The Polymath Planner is made up of several comprehensive sections, allowing you to create a highly evolved version of the traditional to-do list. Instead of jotting down all of the things you need and want to do in jumbled order, categorize and prioritize these points.
When you go into your day with the awareness of what your top priorities are, you have a much better chance of tackling more to-do’s. For example, picking three important tasks to focus on will cut out time and energy spent feeling overwhelmed about what’s next or what you’re capable of. By starting your day with the must-do’s, you’ll one, feel more accomplished, and two, gain a better idea of what you’ll get to do — whether it be later that day or in the next few.
Let Your Brain Take Five
No matter how busy of a bee you are, you still can and SHOULD let your brain take a vacation from time to time; especially during the holidays.
Be careful of what you convince yourself! If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you grew up in a social structure that values strict productivity and its pitfalls. A common side effect of this conditioning is to adopt a pretty skewed idea of what relaxation is, or to feel guilty to want a break at all.
We’re here to “gently” remind you — holiday fun can also feel super stressful, and it’s A-OKAY if you feel that way. In order to truly tune into recharge mode, it’s best to grab some peace and quiet by yourself.
If you have five minutes, you can meditate. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get centered and find some relief amidst all of the chaos. If you’re unsure of how to meditate or are looking for new pointers, you can check out our blog on meditation here.
Give Yourself aBreak
If you follow these tips and still feel a little unsettled or stressed, don’t be so hard on yourself! As mentioned in the beginning of this blog, it’s totally normal to feel all mixed up when your environment, schedule, and home life is, well, all mixed up.
Remember, the Polymath Planner and its philosophy is all about practicing, tweaking, learning, and evolving — it’s a process! Getting through the holiday season and accepting these changes and lessons along the way is where the REAL growth happens.
Enjoy and embrace these vibrant couple months — having a happy holiday season is in YOUR hands!