Get the turkey; check the Black Friday ads; make the Christmas card list; start shopping; put up the decorations; attend school concerts; make cookies; make fudge; make school party goody bags; get a gift to pass; send out the cards; pick out the tree; replace the bulbs; hang the outside lights; go to the office party; more shopping; assemble presents; wrap presents ….
Busy moms far and wide will tell you it’s the same each year. Every year you decide that next year won’t be as hectic – yet somehow it always is. This year vow to find some time for yourself during the busy and stressful holiday season.
We’ve all heard it before: if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting. You can look to find that time all month long. However you will not find some time for yourself unless you make some time for yourself.
Make is an action verb meaning to cause to happen to or be experienced by someone. If you are just going about the necessities of the holiday season aimlessly hoping for a few spare moments of solitude, you will not find that time.
Right now, before the weeks close in on the blessed event, turn a new leaf. You have to consciously decide upon and then commit to following your action plan. Start with your calendar. If you’re a mom, you have a calendar of some form. Decide now if you want 15 minutes daily of nothing or one whole afternoon weekly of nothing.
It’s not a new idea to schedule some time to yourself. What may be new is that you are actually going to write – in pen – the word “Nothing” each week (or day) on your calendar. You must agree to treat that time as if it was an orthodontist appointment. You will not schedule anything else in that time frame.
Mom’s taxi service generally puts on a few miles. Vow to turn off your cell phone while you are traveling in the car. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, in case the children need to reach you then vow not to answer it. And that means do not make phone calls either.
“But… but… I’m so busy. I have to make those calls!” Did you know that studies have been conducted by zoologists regarding animals and downtime? If the animals are left out in the public eye for more than six days they become agitated. Each week, zookeepers pull the animals inside for a day of rest and relaxation.
If the lions, tigers and bears need some downtime without stimulation, doesn’t it stand to reason that Homo sapiens do too? Do you find yourself getting a little agitated if you are left out in the public eye too long to deal with all the demands placed on a busy mom?
Your body was created to need downtime. Still not convinced? Consider the workplace production studies. Some employees are pushing for four 10-hour days instead of five eight hour days. However the studies show that productivity declines significantly after eight hours of working. They may be present for ten hours but only fully productive for eight. All your madness isn’t really giving you productivity.
Perhaps you’re hoping for some magical tips on how to find more time for yourself. You want someone to tell you that if you follow steps 1, 2 and 3 this holiday season will be so much more relaxed than you were last year.
All you really need is step one – make a conscious effort that you will make time and that you will not allow outside influences to interfere with your very much needed time to yourself.
You are only as busy and harried as you allow yourself to be. It is within your span of control to enjoy the busy weeks of the holiday season.
Dr. Paul Pearsall said it best in his book, Toxic Success: How to Stop Striving and Start Thriving, “The work will wait while you watch the rainbow. The rainbow won’t wait while you work.”