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Happiness Tip: Make a Holiday Game Plan

So that I can actually enjoy the holidays, I’ve had to devise a three-part plan for tackling all that needs to be done at this time of year. The foundation of this plan is scheduling, however dull that might sound.

First, I make a simple list of all the things I need and want to do in the next six weeks.

Second, I block off time on our family calendar to actually do those things–including the not-so-obvious things, like time to update my address book so that our holiday cards make it to where they’re supposed to. (Research suggests that telling your brain when you will do something reduces stress.)

Third, I actually schedule downtime on my calendar, like weekend mornings when we commit to not going anywhere or doing anything.

Once I do my scheduling, it becomes obvious that I’m not going to have enough time to do everything on my list. But I can’t skip my downtime, or I won’t actually enjoy the holidays.

It is never easy to stick to the plan. Inevitably, someone will call to see if we can go ice skating on a weekend morning when we’ve scheduled downtime, and we’ll all want to go. But if we can’t easily reschedule the downtime for the next day, we’ll say no.

I’ll get a lot of pushback on this decision from my family, but I’ll remind them that more is not necessarily better, and that I’m actually not that fun to be around when I’m exhausted.

Take Action: Take time this week to make your holiday game plan. Don’t forget to schedule some downtime for yourself!

Join the Discussion: What tricks help you stay sane during the holidays? Share your insight by leaving a comment below!