A time for everything By Rachel Kelly
There’s a time for everything, even during the holidays. There’s a time for family, and there’s time for celebration. There’s time to decorate, time to get out the door, and a time for those holiday traditions. There’s even a time for some of that spiced eggnog that is only available seasonally. But whether you will truly have time or not comes down to whether you are able to keep a healthy balance this holiday season. But with the holidays comes the pull of activities that are sure to yank you right off track to enjoying the season. There can be so many expectations during the holidays; expectations from others but also expectations that we put on ourselves. It can take a lot of effort to keep one’s priorities straight. This year prioritize yourself, your family, your work and the holidays in a way that makes the most sense for the things that matter most.
Prioritizing yourself is often the hardest to prioritize this holiday season. However, for many of us, “me time” should be the first thing we do. Not because you should be selfish, as if that’s even possible. Self-care doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice making sure others are cared for. It’s just a fact that if you don’t fill your cup, you won’t have anything to give. Everything suffers when we don’t prioritize self-care, especially in situations where you may be maxed out. Sometimes prioritizing yourself might mean waking up 15 minutes early every day to enjoy some extra silence over your favorite hot morning beverage. Sometimes it might mean organizing your day in such a way that you can have an extra 10 minutes at the end of every day to just be still. Sometimes it might mean going on a short walk or making a point to take a few hours once a week doing something you love. Little by little, consistent self-care chips away at the stress that has a tendency to build up. Prioritizing yourself might mean that someone else around you might need to adjust their routine, such as going to bed earlier or making sure they’re around during the time that you’ve hedged out for yourself. Sometimes they might be upset about this (kids, this is you), but it’s important that everyone in every household shares the load of responsibility so that each individual is cared for—including you. This might take some conversation, and it might take some compromise, but it’s worth it.
Prioritizing your family is probably next on most people's list. Or maybe prioritizing those that you consider to be like family. There are just some activities and some plans that can’t be rescheduled this time of year, and missing them would take away from joy. It can be easy to under-appreciate those people closest to us, because we feel secure that they will always be there. Regardless, every relationship needs attention. Doing things this holiday season with those loved ones should be top on the list, as they are sure to bring the most joy this time of year. Usually however, there is more than one loved one. Many people find themselves split between many different familial expectations from both sides. These activities can sometimes clash, so communication is key here. It’s no fun if you spread yourself too thin. Be sure to communicate what you can and can’t do for your own sanity, and let the rest be what it will be.
Prioritizing work where it should be during the holidays often means that not everything is done to perfection. However, it will be done the best you possibly can do, and that will have to be enough. Making money is all well and good, but it means very little if you have no time to use it. Especially during the time of year where money and time can be used so well. Do what needs to be done, hit your deadlines and demolish that project while you’re working. But when you’re off, you’re off. If you truly can’t get away, turn everything off. Give yourself a staycation, except at home, and unplug from whatever pulls you where you don’t need to be. This might mean that you might have to cut back in some ways, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor. There is a reason that work is not prioritized at the top of the list, it’s just not the most important thing.
The holidays are a time where we remember and focus on what is most important. The weather turns, the holidays begin, and we invest in all the people, activities and things that get us through the darker/colder parts of the year. There’s a reason that the holidays are all stacked on top of each other. This time of year, we all feel the need for a pick-me-up. The holidays are supposed to be a time of rest, encouragement and celebration. That is, if we can keep a healthy balance throughout. Keeping our priorities straight will help us to drop whatever doesn’t fit, so that we’re capable of making decisions between all the different things that pull at us this season. Being still and simply being thankful is a much-underrated skill. This year, let’s harbor thankfulness by giving ourselves the time and the space to appreciate what makes the holidays so special.