Stay­ing Sane This Hol­i­day Sea­son

Focus of SWFL - - News - by Marla To­mazin 38 FO­CUS of SWFL 2014

With­out a doubt, the hol­i­days are a crazy time of year (as well as “the most won­der­ful”!). From the end of Novem­ber to the be­gin­ning of Jan­uary, most of us rush around non­stop, try­ing to fit in dozens of events, ac­tiv­i­ties, and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. And even though most of us look for­ward to this spe­cial sea­son all year long, it’s still easy to stretch your­self too thin in the midst of all the fes­tiv­i­ties. Ac­cord­ing to Marla To­mazin, that’s why it’s very im­por­tant to take care of your­self as well as tak­ing care of ev­ery­one else. “Most of us don’t re­al­ize just how de­mand­ing the hol­i­day scram­ble can be un­til we’re ex­hausted, over­whelmed, or even sick,” points out To­mazin, who has been an im­age con­sul­tant for twenty years after ear­lier ex­pe­ri­ence in the fash­ion in­dus­try. “The good news is, with a lit­tle prior plan­ning and pri­or­i­tiz­ing, you can en­joy and cher­ish the things that are most im­por­tant to you with­out hav­ing to run on fumes to make it through New Year’s Eve!” To­mazin prom­ises that when you de­cide to have your­self a merry lit­tle Christ­mas, you’ll make more mem­o­ries to cher­ish, you’ll be a more valu­able help to your fam­ily, and you’ll be in a good po­si­tion to en­ter the New Year al­ready on a roll. Read on for her top take-care- of-you tips: Make a list and check it twice. Re­al­is­ti­cally, you can fo­cus only on one or two big goals at a time, no mat­ter how adept you are at mul­ti­task­ing. That’s why To­mazin rec­om­mends sit­ting down (right now!), de­cid­ing what is most im­por­tant to you this hol­i­day sea­son, and pri­or­i­tiz­ing those things. If spend­ing time with your fam­ily is at the top of your list, for ex­am­ple, put them first and con­sciously make sure that other things re­main on the back burner. Or if eat­ing well and main­tain­ing your health is a pri­mary goal, plan out a strat­egy be­fore­hand so that you won’t be blind­sided by buf­fet-ta­ble bounty. Most im­por­tantly, re­mem­ber that you can’t do it all. “I’ll never for­get the year I specif­i­cally set aside time to spend with my mother,” To­mazin re­calls. “She taught me to make the Ital­ian cook­ies that she and her fam­ily had al­ways en­joyed at this time of year. I couldn’t pos­si­bly put a price on learn­ing to carry on this tra­di­tion, and the mem­o­ries my mother and I made are cer­tainly bet­ter than if we had gone shop­ping in one more store!” Give your­self the gift of health. When you’re this busy and stressed, it’s easy to be­come run down and spread your­self too thin. And on top of the strain that the hol­i­day bus­tle can bring, it’s also cold and flu sea­son… so make sure to take care of your phys­i­cal needs. To­mazin rec­om­mends get­ting in some light ex­er­cise, even if you can work in only a short walk a few days a week. Also, be sure to drink lots of wa­ter, eat healthy foods, and avoid gorg­ing on treats at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. Lastly, make a point to get enough sleep (DVR that late-night hol­i­day spe­cial if you have to)! To­mazin prom­ises that if you do all of th­ese things, you’ll en­ter the New Year on a healthy foot. And that means that you won’t have to start all over on Jan­uary 2nd and make a brand new set of “lose weight and live health­ier” res­o­lu­tions. Go on a date… with your­self. We tend to be more or less con­stantly sur­rounded by other peo­ple dur­ing the hol­i­days; after all, it’s a sea­son de­voted to be­ing with the ones you love! How­ever, even when it comes to fam­ily and friends, it’s pos­si­ble to have too much of a good thing. To make sure you don’t be­come so­cially drained mid-sea­son; make a point to do some­thing by your­self ev­ery now and then. Maybe it’s sit­ting down to en­joy a cup of cof­fee in the mid­dle of Christ­mas shop­ping, or go­ing to see a ro­man­tic com­edy with­out your kids. (A din­ner with just your spouse can also serve this func­tion if you’d rather not fly solo.) When you un­wind and take a breather, To­mazin prom­ises, your per­spec­tive will stay clear and your stress won’t be­come too over­whelm­ing.

Plan ahead. Ev­ery­one talks about how the hol­i­days “catch them by sur­prise” ev­ery year. In or­der to keep from be­ing over­whelmed and over­booked in the com­ing weeks, To­mazin says that you need to look at your cal­en­dar right now. Start sched­ul­ing so­cial en­gage­ments as soon as you be­come aware of them, and give your­self plenty of time to ful­fill your own re­spon­si­bil­i­ties so that you aren’t fran­ti­cally glu­ing tinsel onto your daugh­ter’s pageant cos­tume at 2:00 a.m. the day be­fore her big stage de­but. This way, you’ll be able to en­joy sea­sonal events in­stead of just get­ting through them. Let your­self off the hook, and be okay with that. Un­less you’re Martha Ste­wart, you’ll never have a pic­ture-per­fect hol­i­day sea­son. (Truth­fully, most of us can iden­tify more with Clark Gris­wold’s mishaps in Na­tional Lam­poon’s Christ­mas Va­ca­tion as the beloved character tries to cre­ate a “good old-fash­ioned fam­ily Christ­mas.”) To save your san­ity, re­al­ize ahead of time that you might for­get to buy a gift for Great-Aunt Maude, that the dog might break a few low-hang­ing Christ­mas or­na­ments, and that you might not be able to make all eight dozen cookie recipes you’ve col­lected. That’s nor­mal, To­mazin as­sures, so don’t beat your­self up. Keep your fo­cus on what’s re­ally im­por­tant and you’ll be less tense and har­ried—as well as more re­silient! Say no. Many of us have trou­ble say­ing no for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons: We don’t want to let oth­ers down, we don’t want to be seen as weak, we’re afraid to refuse, etc. How­ever, To­mazin points out that un­til you learn to say no when you need to, you’ll never be in the driver’s seat of your own life. She’s adamant that you don’t have to do it all— nor should you. You don’t have to chair ev­ery event, host ev­ery party, and buy ev­ery gift on your kids’ lists. Again, To­mazin re­minds, de­cide ahead of time what’s most im­por­tant to you and pri­or­i­tize those things. Then you can feel okay about say­ing no to some of the rest. Give your­self a gift (or two). Chances are, you’ve al­ready started shop­ping for some of the items on your gift list. As you’re choos­ing the per­fect presents for your spouse, kids, friends, and more, To­mazin re­minds you not to for­get your­self! Whether it’s an af­ter­noon pedi­cure or a plush new robe to wear around the house dur­ing the chilly months, re­mem­ber that it’s both okay and healthy to invest in your­self. This might even be the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to buy that fab­u­lous dress you’ve been eye­ing—after all, you can wear it to your and your spouse’s company par­ties or cock­tail hours. Spend­ing a few dol­lars or min­utes on your­self might seem like a rel­a­tively small thing, but To­mazin prom­ises that it can make a huge dif­fer­ence. “Ul­ti­mately, you don’t have to com­pletely over­haul the way you ap­proach the hol­i­days to sa­vor the up­com­ing sea­son in­stead of feel­ing stressed by it,” To­mazin con­cludes. “By putting some prior thought into what you find most mean­ing­ful and im­por­tant, and by ac­knowl­edg­ing the im­por­tance of your own health and san­ity, you’ll find that this is once again ‘the most won­der­ful time of the year’!”

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