ChristmasLinda (1)

Navigating the Holidays Guilt Free: A Guide to Staying Sane When Life is Full

The holiday season, while joyous and festive, often brings a whirlwind of activities that can leave even the most organized individuals feeling overwhelmed. If you find yourself juggling the responsibilities of parenting, working for yourself, or managing a busy schedule, staying sane during the holidays might seem like an impossible feat. Fear not! In this article, we’ll explore some insightful tips and strategies to help you maintain your peace of mind through the festive chaos.  And not come out the other end of it feeling exhausted. 

Let Yourself off the Hook & Set Realistic Expectations:

In 1999 I wrote my first book called “You Might be a Martyr”  It’s a humorous look at all the guilt we carry throughout our lives.  So I encourage you all to not send Holiday cards this year.  Well at least only send to the 5 people who mean the most to you.  Ohh and one more piece of advice,  drop out of the cookie exchange.  Take the time you are saving and watch a great Holiday movie with your family.  The pressure to create an exceptional holiday experience can be immense, leading to unnecessary stress. Instead of aiming for perfection, (which does not even exist), set realistic expectations for yourself. Understand that it’s okay if everything doesn’t go as planned. Flexibility is key during this time. Maybe instead of 2 Christmas tree’s there’s only 1 or a mini tree. Instead of matching plates and decor it’s whatever there is (have a relaxed theme). Stretch yourself here, If you are hosting Christmas Eve,  or Christmas Day or however you celebrate the Festive Season,  who ever said you have to make all the food? Ask each guest to bring their favourite dish.  And they take that dish home even if it hasn’t been washed.  Just make the Turkey and the Gravy.  When you take the stress out of it, I can guarantee it’s more fun for everyone. 

Prioritize Self-Care:

Amidst the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. Allocate time for activities that rejuvenate your mind and body, whether it’s a short walk, a quiet moment with a book, or a warm bath. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury but a necessity.  This might also look like a few less drinks at the several parties that happen over the holidays. And gifting yourself a few more baths with some nice epson salts.

Delegate and Share Responsibilities:

You don’t have to do it all alone. Delegate tasks and share responsibilities with family members or friends. Whether it’s meal preparation, gift wrapping, or decorating the house, involving others can not only ease your burden but also create a sense of togetherness. Everyone craves to be useful and appreciated so give them the gift of helping out. 

Create a Realistic Schedule:

Develop a holiday schedule that aligns with your current commitments. Balance work, family time, and personal activities, ensuring that you allocate dedicated time for each. A well-structured plan will help you stay organized and avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Embrace Simplicity:

It’s easy to get caught up in the commercial aspects of the holidays. Remember the true essence of the season and embrace simplicity. Focus on creating meaningful experiences rather than accumulating material possessions. Quality time with loved ones often outweighs extravagant gifts and keeps the landfills lean. 

Learn to Say No:

While the holiday season is synonymous with gatherings and celebrations, it’s important to recognize your limits. Learn to say no when needed. Politely decline invitations or commitments that might stretch you too thin. Protecting your time and energy is crucial for maintaining your sanity. This is a hard one because we all feel FOMO, but check in with yourself and ask if this will add to your energy reserves or take away from them. If it’s the latter then give yourself the Christmas gift of filling your own cup.  

Establish Boundaries:

If you work for yourself, setting boundaries becomes even more critical during the holiday season. Clearly communicate your availability to clients, partners, and collaborators. Establishing clear boundaries allows you to balance work and personal life effectively.

Embrace Imperfection:

Perfection is an unattainable goal, and the pursuit of it can lead to unnecessary stress. Embrace imperfection and focus on the joyous moments rather than fixating on the things that didn’t go as planned. The holidays are about creating memories, not flawless events.  Or try what I call the 75% rule.  If you are a perfectionist,  and you already know if you are,  when you set out to do something over the holidays,  do it to 75% of what you normally would.  And just notice how it makes you feel.  And let me tell you after 30 years of researching Perfectionists vs Non Perfectionists.  Your 75% is about 150% of how the rest of the world operates.  I just really want you to take a big breath and let yourself off the hook this season.  

Staying sane through the holidays is a matter of balance, self-awareness, and a willingness to adapt. By setting realistic expectations, prioritizing self-care, and embracing simplicity, you can navigate the festive season with grace. Remember, the holidays are an opportunity to connect with loved ones and create cherished memories – and finding peace amidst the chaos will make those moments even more special.

I look forward to your comments.   Happy Holidays from my family to yours.  


Linda Edgecombe,  Hall of Fame Speaker,  Proud disruptor of the status quo.