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Breathing during the holidays


I tend to overdo it. Someone called me a “high achiever” today, and I really heard that. I am VERY much a high achiever. The more productive I am, the more successful I feel. And gang, that fails to really serve me. FAILED to serve me. I AM a high achiever, but I also am aware of that and really work hard to step away from that. I consciously take breaks, I notice when I’m making absurdly long to-do lists and cut back, I ask friends to prompt me when they see me in that place….I really really work to keep it under control. It’s an effort…but worth it.


Which brings us to the holidays. I’m getting gifts for about 20 people, baking about 10 dozen cookies to give away, and I’m throwing a party (if you weren’t invited and want to come, let me know – more is better!!). That’s a lot. At the same time, I do this every year and I have short cuts that include ways to cut back if it’s too much. And that’s me.


How do YOU do the holidays? Do you find them stressful? I have a friend who told me how much he dislikes Christmas. I don’t think he’s alone. So I thought I’d share some tips, in case you could use them.


-     That perfect gift? Use your resources. There are on-line lists of the perfect gift. And think of an easy thing with a new spin – like gift cards from (which buys from small businesses) or a donation towards a charity (yeah, and if you get people that don’t ever donate, definitely do that. Get this in their thinking process – giving matters)(IMHO). If you want something personal and you’re lost, (you ready? This is a personal favorite) get them a stone, and include a card of what they mean to you. They’ll associate the memory of what you said with that lovely stone and BOOM - personal gift! Plus stones are super economical (you can use one you find in a spot that you shared with that person OR buy one), environmental, and portable.

-     Need to give a gift within an uncomfortable relationship (boss, ex, whatever)? Food & wine are always safe. Good cheeses go a long way, and you can do well with very little money. If you want to catch them off guard, make a donation in their name. Tough to put that kind of gift down, you know? And let the charities win!!

-     Side note on charities – please support them. They’re doing great work.

-     Never reject an invitation to a party – you never know who you might meet. And if going to parties stresses you out, but you need to go, you know, look for the person standing alone and offer some light. If you don’t know what to wear, challenge yourself. You’re a wonderful person. Wear something comfortable and just feel good. A good hint – buy a cool piece like a hat or scarf that makes you feel special. People will notice that and disregard any other clothing. Final thought – find someone who dresses well and ask for help.

-     Relax. You are the only one in control of your life… choose relaxing periodically. You’re allowed.

-     Breathe. Seriously, get in the habit of taking deep breaths when you’re stressed. It’s absurdly effective and genuinely feels really good.

-     Find time to get outside and take in this gorgeous time of year.

-     Get yourself a gift. Maybe even wrap it up. Something that is an indulgence. You totally deserve it.


All this is off the top of my head. I’m sure you are fully capable of doing your own thing, you just needed to be reminded. The holidays really CAN be fun. Just figure out what’s important to you and make sure that happens.



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