As teachers we are master jugglers, we have been trained in the art of keeping a lot of things in the air. During holiday season (which in some stores started before October 31!), there is definite potential for many things to be added to the activities we are already juggling, making for a very stressful scenario. Now, we all probably approach this potential stress in different ways: some of us are planners, scheduling tasks in advance and checking off mountainous to do lists. Those of us who fall in this category may spend a quarter of our calendar year in holiday mode which may not be a real healthy place to live. Some of us are delayers, always having good intentions of getting things done but putting off the extra tasks for another day. Some of us are ignorers, we avoid thinking about holiday stuff until becoming panic stricken when we wake up and nothing is done. Those of us who fall into the ignorer category may thrive on the adrenaline producing challenge, but are you tired of the rollercoaster? No matter what your tendency is, do you want this holiday season to be a little different?
The first step is recognizing how you approach another item being added to what you are already juggling. Reflect on previous years, do you want things to be different this year? If the answer is yes, then take it as a challenge to try to make some different choices. Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. As new requests, invitations, lists, and bills are being tossed your way, take some deep breaths and try to be realistic about what are reasonable demands for your time and energy, what is essential, and what do you really want for you and your family this season.
Hopefully some of the more specific tips listed will help you rediscover a technique or two that may help a little in counteracting holiday stress…
We can’t get away from being reminded that the holidays are coming, so now when there’s a little more time, reflect on how you want the next couple of months to look and feel like. We will be better for it in our classrooms and in our homes. And maybe, just maybe instead of the holiday season being something that causes stress and overwhelm because of the expectations we put on ourselves, we have a more joyous one remembering what’s really important: relationships and time well spent together.