It has begun. The season of excessive running around. Holiday parties, rehearsals, finals that stress your kids out, family members announcing their arrival, travel arrangements, getaway plans, and…everything else. This is the quiet and reflective time of the year, right?

It is easy to give in to endless hours at work so you can finish this and that and yet another project before the end of the year. I am guilty myself. The last two days I have been sitting in my home office until 10 p.m. After working with coaching clients for two weeks on full VIP Days, I’ve neglected the things that grow my business and items that need follow-up. I am overdue to call the client who wants to book me as a speaker about Women Leadership, one of my Leadership Mastery coaching clients is waiting for her outline, and I’ve been dealing with more than the usual bumps and bruises that eat up my time. My hard drive crashed and so did my phone. My website was hacked and a web search for my name brought up a “payday” result. It’s taken me a month to get rid of it. Plus, I am still doing plenty of radio interviews and squeezing in my regular clients wherever I can.

No wonder I pulled my muscle in my butt (how hilarious is this?) when I yanked off my fancy cowboy boot at Bloomingdales during a quick shoe shop stop when I took my laptop to visit the Apple doctor.

Seriously, what is wrong with us that we must pile yet another thing on to our already overflowing to-do lists? And the holiday season is the worst time of the year for this. As I am laying here on the couch enduring butt spasms (there really is no other way to describe it, and one must see the humor in the having a literal pain in the butt) I could smack myself. Why do we arrive at this place of frenzy year after year, and how can we pull through it better this time?

Let’s take a look at five quick strategies for keeping our balance.

  1. .) Schedule, schedule, schedule. Put it in the calendar—and I mean all of it. Shopping, working, traveling, rehearsals, family time, and most importantly, ME time. Add hair, massage, girl time, reading time, and play time, too.
  2. .) Give up on perfection. If we don’t, we run into the risk of being yanked down into the Superhuman Paradox. You do what you can.
  3. .) Say yes to everyone who is offering to help. Frankly, we need it even if it is not as good as how we would do it. (Or, shockingly—different than our method.)
  4. .) Have fun. What is fun for you during the holidays? Do that first. How many times do we follow customs we don’t even like or that make no sense? Let’s stop it right now. Here’s an article to help you tactfully opt out.
  5. .) Say no sometimes and be considerate of your own needs. I don’t know why this seems to be the hardest thing for us to do. Put yourself first and scrutinize what you do. Is this something you should be doing?

I used to ship Christmas gift packages to my nieces and nephews and my mom in Germany. Each year it cost me time, energy, and hundreds of dollars in shipping. And each year, they sent nothing to me or even to my daughter. I kept it up even when I was criticized for not buying the right gifts. But last Christmas was the final year for this tradition. I brushed off the hurt and resentment that came from being only one gifting (and not doing it right), and now I feel good about my decision to say no to that source of stress.

This is a gift you can give to yourself. What is something that has been bothering you which you can give up?

My wish for you is to find ways to free up your time and reduce your stress so you can actually enjoy the holidays this year.

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