Say No to Overbooking the Holidays—and Yes to Yourself!

holiday stress

We have fewer than 40 days left of 2016. The progression toward the holiday season and the end-of-year countdown seems to get earlier each year… It would be easy to ignore these factors, yet there are social pressures to already start thinking about dates—do you want to go away for the end of the year, or spend the holidays with family? Does your family want you to host?

The progression toward the holiday season and the end-of-year countdown seems to get earlier… Click To Tweet

Life is already moving at the speed of “too fast” for most of us: There are business demands target dates, but there is also pressure to save for gifts or holiday parties, and plenty of hidden expenditures during this time of year.

Working moms especially face many pressures. If kids are in sports, there are games and maybe playoffs on the schedule; if your student is in high school, this is the season of college applications and SATs, which means it’s the season of comforting your stressed teen as they worry that their entire future hinges on a few hours test-taking. Then kids have to get presents for other kids, or teachers, or coaches, and all this must be budgeted in the already-swelling budget. It’s enough to make a busy mom want to throw up her hands and hide until January.

Working moms especially face many pressures. Click To Tweet

This isn’t an option, of course. What is an option is saying no to holiday overbooking?

What is an option is saying no to holiday overbooking? Click To Tweet

Holiday stress is a very real problem: long-term effects of holiday stress include high blood pressure and potential heart disease, anxiety and depression, obesity, menstrual problems, and skin problems. So how can working moms empower themselves to say no to holiday overbooking? Start by taking a look at your holiday list and deciding which are obligations that bring you joy.

Start by taking a look at your holiday list and deciding which are obligations that bring you… Click To Tweet

How you prioritize depends on your family structure. Do you have small children or infants? Don’t overbook your holiday with family events on the same day or weekend: Lugging your family, your kids, and all their stuff between multiple places on the same day will likely be too much for them, and for you. This includes saying no to events that require unusual travel, especially requested by distant relatives. Young children can’t be expected to “perform” on holidays. Also, don’t feel obligated to participate in extravagant gift exchanges. With big families, suggest a family name drawing, so you only have to get one gift-per-person, or reserve gifts for the kids. And don’t feel guilty about setting your boundaries in advance. (If you ever had a license to pass on hosting duties, having young children provides not merely an excuse, but a valid reason.)

Don’t feel guilty about setting your boundaries in advance. Click To Tweet

Instead, say yes to things that make you happy. If you see your list of obligations becoming overbooked, think about why you feel obligated. For one thing, it’s hard to feel joyful when you’re forced to do something; a gift isn’t actually a gift if it is required. Sometimes, “faux obligations” can sneak into your itinerary, overwhelming you. But are these really duties required of you?

Say yes to things that make you happy. Click To Tweet

heidi bartolotta holidays

Conversely, if hosting the family dinner and modeling your holiday after Martha Stewart makes you happy and relieves your stress, then absolutely do it. Feel free to ask for help from your capable and willing family members, but remember not to make others feel guilty for not participating at a high standard. Those other family members may feel compelled to overbook their holidays as well. Chances are, though, if you speak up, other people may be relieved and back you up.

With business-related obligations, things can be trickier. There are tactful ways to say no, and feel free to include your workload as a means to decline certain requests. If you have a team that expects you to plan a holiday party, suggest a potluck and/or gift exchange of “items you already own,” and delegate small tasks to different team members. That way, they will realize how busy you are, it will take pressure off you, and you will set an example for managing your time.

If you have a team that expects you to plan a holiday party, suggest a potluck and/or gift… Click To Tweet

With all these examples, practice not letting other people make you feel guilty for saying no to holiday overbooking. Hopefully, this empowerment will spill over to the rest of the year, and you can live life more on your terms.

At Moms Making Six Figures, we help working moms prioritize what’s most important to them, with the purpose of building a community of empowered women. If you’re ready to join the community or would like more information, visit our website.

 

heidi bartolottaHeidi Bartolotta worked as pharmaceutical sales representative for 12 years. But after having her two daughters, she no longer wanted to work late and travel; she wanted to be home. So, Heidi quit her job and founded Moms Making Six Figures in December 2009 in San Diego to allow women to stay at home and either replace or supplement their incomes. Now almost eight years later, her company helps moms work from home across the U.S. and overseas.

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