It’s Tuesday — Thanksgiving has just passed and December is nipping at our heels. Get ready for the holiday onslaught and rush!

According to the Wall Street Journal, retailers this year must get better at targeting people and their shopping needs. Their example: if a woman has been looking at an online site for a particular item (let’s say boots), then that retailer should follow up with a targeted message about discounts on boots, as opposed to dresses. As I read this I thought, “Oh great, increased ways I can be bombarded with ads and nonsense to encourage me to buy more stuff.”

It’s not that I’m bah humbug like Dickens’ character, Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, it’s just that the month of December can be quite overwhelming. From holiday parties, family gatherings, ongoing requests for special donations, cooking, shopping, etc; it can be a bit much.

Carve out “me time” and hold yourself to it #ClearVisionConsult #Survivetheholidays Click To Tweet

I’d love to share I have the secret foolproof solution for staying sane around this even busier and insane time of year. I don’t! What I do know is that we women (and men) need to stay centered and take actions to revitalize ourselves for the holidays.

Here is a way to plan your December to keep your life and sanity in balance. Please note that I have tried every step, some with greater success than others. Know there is always room for improvement.

  • Review your December calendar, and determine how many activities you will insert into each week. Don’t peek and look at all the things you want to do. Pre-plan ahead of time how many activities you can reasonably achieve. I personally do this activity with my husband. He’s the introvert and I’m the extrovert. I may want to do a bit more, but I know upfront his expectation level.
  • Schedule in those activities that you know you have to attend, or at least make an appearance at. This is the proverbial office party or a family member’s “must attend” social. Even for these events ask yourself, “Is there any way I can reduce the amount of time I need to be there?”
  • The next step is to schedule at least one activity for each week to revitalize you! This may be time for a bubble bath, reading time, spa time, or whatever else you do to revitalize. Hold this time sacrosanct. This is always the most difficult part for me. Often I’ll over-schedule, thinking I can reschedule for another time. You got it, it never works!! Do yourself (and everyone else around you) a favor; carve out “me time” and hold yourself to it. If it helps, think how much more refreshed you will be to attend that required family gathering with a smile in your face.
  • Schedule in any shopping time (online or in-store) that needs to take place. Be ruthless here. I have whittled this down to the bare half-day (split into two 2-hour segments) for the month. Part of this was achieved by reducing the number of gifts to people, supplemented with occasional gift shopping over the other 11 months of the year. I also try to leverage this time by meeting up with friends  for lunch ahead of time or dinner afterwards – another of those “me” activities.
  • And now, looking at your calendar, realistically schedule in all the other activities you would like to attend. For me these include attending a holiday ballet program, choral concert, friends’ parties, and other activities. My husband and I may go to a few together, but often I’ll go by myself when he’s oversaturated.

A final word to the wise: Once you’ve done the above steps, practice your grace-filled “I’m so sorry, I just can’t attend that event” speech. For many of you, this comes naturally. For me, I have to practice and be ready with a prepared statement to say no, it’s too much!

ACTION: As you plan for the approaching month of December, what steps will you take to ensure you are prepared, rested, and revitalized? How will you ensure your December 2017 is purpose-driven, joy-filled, and abundant?

Kathy Hart, EdD’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at kathy@clearvisionconsult.com. The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your midlife transition
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance