No matter how you *think* you are going to approach the holidays, it is easy to find yourself feeling drained and overwhelmed quickly. After all, before you can get into the swing of things, you first need to wrap up the end of your work year and make sure everything on your festive to-do list is checked off. Then, you may be traveling to see family or hosting your own holiday gathering. (Alternatively, you might be doing neither of those things (like me!) in which case – help your relatives out!). Amidst all the festive joy and holiday madness, it is essential to remember to look after yourself. Otherwise, you are going to be moody with your Aunts, passive-aggressive with your high-school friends that you only see once a year, and you are going to enter the new decade – DECADE – with your second-best foot forward (which unfortunately is your worst).
To help us all out, I turned to Lora DiFranco, founder and designer of Free Period Press. I was first introduced to her brand in the summer when I bought their Cleveland Metroparks Challenge Map (which R & I are slowly but surely completing). I love that their products are designed specifically to help you prioritize what is most important to you and to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Their Progress Tracker Poster enables you to take a big (overwhelming) project and break it down into manageable steps, while their Weekly Schedule Magic To-Do List Notepad is designed to help you get the most out of your time. We met up for coffee a couple of weeks ago and her passion for creating products that truly benefit her customers was evident and inspiring. For this reason, I knew she would have some valuable insights for how we can keep ourselves balanced over the next few weeks. Here is Lora’s guide to taking some time for yourself this season:
1. Feel your feelings
“As a small business owner, the holidays are a special blend of fun and stress. Almost every day, I’m cycling through periods of feeling cozy, overwhelmed, excited, reflective, grounded, good-busy, bad-busy, and one-million other emotions. I realized that over-analyzing these emotions is a fruitless endeavor— the feelings come and go faster than I can keep up! So, I have a new mantra this holiday season: feel all of the feelings. It’s incredibly freeing to stop questioning my emotions and start rolling with them.”
2. Stick to your routines when you can
“There’s so much to love about this time of year— music, decorations, lights, tasty beverages, cozy fires… but you don’t need me to tell you that it can also be an immensely stressful time. Even if you’re out of town or hosting company, try your best to stick to those self-care routines that keep you sane. For me, those are getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking lots of water, and making time to move my body. We created our Habit Calendar to help you track those little habits that make a big difference in your life.”
3. Say no to FOMO
“There can be a lot of pressure and FOMO around the holidays— have you baked cookies, watched a Hallmark movie, sent holiday cards, decorated your house, and gone caroling? Take a moment to reflect on what you love about the holidays and what would make them meaningful to you. Maybe baking isn’t your thing, but coloring by the fireplace with your besties is your jam.”
4. Set boundaries
“I realized this year that two after-work activities per week is my max. If I over schedule myself, I feel scattered and ungrounded. Take a look at your calendar and make sure you’re not overbooking yourself— it’s a recipe for holiday burnout. That being said, remember that there is no wrong way to holiday– you have to find what works best for you!”
Thank you, Lora!
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