Holiday Tips & Tricks from
Busy Women on the Go
To help other women make the best of the most wonderful time of the year, we conducted a survey of our employees at UAMS to see how they manage their many obligations. Their careers range from psychiatry to research and teaching to accounting, but despite their diverse professional backgrounds they share a common philosophy regarding the holidays.
“You can tell these busy women have learned from experience,” says Amy Phillips
, one of our OB/GYN
doctors at UAMS
. “Their stories about the challenges of trying to do it all are very common. More importantly, their advice to take time for yourself is right on target. They are right -- spending time enjoying the holidays with friends and family is more important than making a dessert worthy of a magazine cover.”
Tools & Tricks
There’s an app for that. – iChristmas List for the iPhone is a good one. This allows you to keep up with gifts (and, theoretically, the budget) when you’re so busy you can’t remember your own name, much less what you bought three weeks ago for Aunt Barbara.
Make a list and check it twice. Store lists with your holiday decorations and bring them out again the next year.
Buy in bulk. If you find the perfect gift for one aunt or sister, odds are at least one other co-worker, aunt or sister will like the same gift.
Get some alone time.
Even a 15-minute break can help you relax and relieve stress. Taking a brisk walk
or getting some exercise can significantly improve your mood.
Capture the memories.
Plan in advance to learn how to take better photos
. Buy a holiday hat, headband or pair of sunglasses. Take a photo of each of your family members wearing the holiday item and then make a slideshow for everyone to enjoy. Crop and adjust color in your photos using Instagram or the free and easy picmonkey.com
We’re all in this together. Let go of the idea of seasonal perfection and try to enjoy and find humor in the madness. You are not a holiday failure if your home doesn’t look like your favorite pin on Pinterest or you’re not addressing your cards using calligraphy. Before delving into another project, ask yourself if the end result is really important to you and your family.
Say “no” once in a while. We all want to be that woman who attends every school or social function that comes our way. Or you may love every charity you want to help, but choosing wisely will help make your efforts more effective while ensuring that you’re not spread too thin. Don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries to protect your rest and sanity.
Learn from your mistakes. If your children/family/friends have been pushed too far to create the “perfect” holiday in the past, don’t repeat traditions that are making everyone unhappy. A cozy evening at home watching a holiday movie in your pajamas may get you in the spirit more than hosting a holiday block party.
Things are only things. And they’re made to be enjoyed by you and your loved ones, so use your good stuff. If a goblet or ornament is broken along the way, forgive and forget quickly.
Close your eyes and relax. Sometimes you need to be still to stop the chaos in your mind. Write down a list of all the things you need to do and figure out which ones are the easiest to get done. Start with the low hanging fruit and steadily work your way through.
Ask for help. And ask again if you need to. Presents don’t have to be wrapped perfectly, so buy some pretty bags and let your spouse take over that task. And cookies decorated by your kids are more beautiful than anything you’ll see in a magazine.
Be present. As you sit down for your holiday gatherings, take a moment to look around the table – you’ll see a lot of “things” you’re grateful for. By this time next year, changes will occur, so take a breath and enjoy your loved ones this holiday season.