The holidays can be rough, especially when you're busy at home and in the classroom. From finding ways to help children maintain their focus to finalizing your gift list and fighting through the crowds at the mall, the holiday season often makes you feel like both your work and personal life is overwhelming. However, you can prevent some of the stress and panic you experience during the holidays with these three tips:
1. Take a Moment to Organize and Prioritize
If you want to make it through the holidays without too much stress, you have to make a game plan for your work and home life. Make a list of what needs to be done at school, prioritize what needs to be done first, and see if you can divvy out any of the tasks to an assistant, volunteer, or parent. Knowing what you have to do before winter break and knowing what needs to be finished first can help prevent a lot of stress in the classroom.
The same process should apply to your home life. Make a list of what needs to be done to prepare for the holidays, prioritize your list, and see if you can ask your significant other, children, or other family members to help you with your list. For example, instead of tackling holiday shopping alone, see if your siblings or cousins would be willing to go shopping as a group. You could even split up everyone's gift lists, so each person would only have to tackle one part of the store. Gift wrapping parties are also a great way to knock out some of the items on your to-do list.
2. Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment
Feeling like you don't have enough time to get everything done is one thing that stresses many people out during the holidays. Instead of rushing around frantically, slow down and notice what's going on around you. Don't go 15 or 20 miles per hour over the speed limit to get to your next destination (you may miss a great place to find gifts because you're going too fast) and try to stop for coffee or go out to dinner with the people you're shopping with (taking time to sit down and connect with one another will make the experience more fun and memorable).
3. Prep for the New Year
A lot of people focus on just making it to the big day (the first day of winter break, the start of Hanukkah, Christmas Day, etc.), but it's important to expand your vision past a specific day. At home, make a list of what bills you need to pay, errands you need to run, or tasks you need to complete at the beginning of January or during your winter break. Having this list on hand will help you get back into a normal routine once the holidays are over. The same can also apply to your classroom. Before the holidays (or after if you prefer), take time to create a game plan for when students come back from winter break.
For other ways to de-stress during the holidays, read our tips on finding ways to relax during school breaks.